Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Denham's training flexibility

Alongside his welcome plans for quick payments by government departments - I hope they are being monitored - today's announcement by John Denham, the skills secretary, contains a very welcome change of heart on training. The Train to Gain programme has been far too inflexible for employers, with an obsession on accrediting level 2 skills. The flexibility promised, including opportunities to take 'bite size units' and second level 2 qualifications, should make it easier for employers to get the courses they need. This follows plenty of lobbying by colleges and employers' organisations. Now, with unemployment set to rise, it is important that training for people to gain new skills independently of employers through personal skills accounts is also given a rapid boost.

1 comment:

Baz Cymraeg said...

'Tis excellent progress to facilitate more skills training to meet employers' needs (and in the same facilitation to meet workers' needs). Train to Gain offers good opportunity for both workers and employers. Let us not forget that Train to Gain is available for those in work, not for those out of work. There-in lies a problem. With rising unemployment many with the potential and willingess to train need to be able to access relevant training provision that addresses both skills shortages in the economy and also the training demands by unemployed individuals (provided that the training demands are relevant and realistic). A look at a typical college prospectus reveals that many training courses start in September, and a fewer number of relevant training courses start in January. Start dates for training provision need to be flexible to rapidly follow the start date of an individual's unemployment. This will be problematic for colleges with rigid start dates, yet there is a precedent for flexibility. Colleges working inside prisons, and in-house Prison Service vocational training (albeit with limited resources) have historically successfully achieved positive training outcomes with a roll-on roll off intake. Successful training of inmates has also been accomplished with trainees lacking the qualifications that mainstream colleges often demand for a trainee to be eligible to enrol on vocational training.

Perhaps HM Prison Service should be commissioned to lead training
provision in the community, regardless of whether or not the potential trainees have criminal records.