Train to Gain cash shortfall hampers employers’ climb out of recession

Lack of cash for training places is delaying employers’ recovery from the recession, the Association of Learning Providers (ALP) has warned.

The association said funding for the government’s flagship skills service Train to Gain had run out so companies would not be able to train staff through the programme until at least the next financial year starts in April 2010.

The ALP said training providers had been told by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), which runs Train to Gain, to stop taking new trainees from 1 April this year, effectively meaning some employers would not have access to training for 12 months. Sectors including construction, engineering and childcare had been particularly affected by the lack of funding.

Personnel Today revealed in April that Train to Gain was likely to run out of money by the end of the year because of a surge in demand from employers for the service.

Graham Hoyle, chief executive of ALP, said: “With businesses needing to be competitive to fight their way out of the recession, it seems strange – and potentially damaging to the economy – that many can go a whole year without being able to start workers on the government’s flagship training scheme.”

According to the training firms, the funding shortages meant provision of adult apprenticeships in 2009-10 would be slashed significantly reducing the likelihood of achieving the 2020 target of 400,000 apprenticeship places in England.

The ALP urged the government to divert money from the LSC budget for further education to Train to Gain to cover the current financial year – with this money being returned the following financial year – to allow training to be spread evenly throughout the year.

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