This month's news roundup
Funding fears for engineers under new LSC
The basic national funding rates set by the DfEE to be implemented by the LSC have already come in for criticism.
Engineering specialists fear that the new funding regime will have serious consequences for some training providers.
“We’re not being allowed to go directly from where we are now to the funding levels suggested,” explained Nick Morrissey, chief executive of the Southampton-based engineering training body Seta. “If it’s an augmentation of funding, it’s being damped.” The effect of damping is that providers cannot draw down more funding than in 1999 plus 10 per cent. For Morrissey it comes as a kick in the teeth.
“I’ve improved the quality of delivery - we’ve taken on more staff to do that. As a result the delivery of NVQs has increased by about 43 per cent,” he said.
But Seta’s funding is tied to its 1999 performance. “For the coming year I just drop the extra 43 per cent I’ve done in 2000/01. I can’t afford to resource it,” said Morrissey.
There are also cuts of 44 per cent in funding for engineering apprentices aged 19-plus, despite encouragement to take on older people. “It looks as if I will have a reduction in funding of around £200,000, so I’ve got difficult decisions to make.”
Plymouth Engineering Group Training Scheme (PEGTS) runs a 100-place apprentice centre.
Manager Peter Stacey said, “Short-term, it’s causing us severe cashflow problems. Our LSC is looking for growth and we’ve got companies saying, ‘Give us more apprentices’, but there’s no way we can fund that.”
Under the Tec system PEGTS received local discretionary funding, but its LSC is powerless to help because national programme rates are fixed centrally.
Stacey is, nonetheless, optimistic. “In the long term, we’ll get somewhere near £12,000 funding for an apprenticeship. Hopefully 10 years of living hand-to-mouth will then be a bad memory.”
Discounts on virtual schools
A series of special offers for employers have been made ava