The government’s National Retraining Scheme should be restructured to deliver traineeships for adults, according to the Association of Employment and Learning Providers.
According to the AELP, an “adult traineeship” should be created and should be available both to unemployed and employed adults through the National Retraining Scheme (NRS).
Background: National Retraining Scheme project to expand
The AELP said the recent shaping of the scheme into an information-sharing platform simply duplicated existing government-backed job signposting initiatives and therefore risked wasting taxpayers’ money. Instead, the organisation argued, what was required was a clear set of outcome and progression measures within a proper training scheme, with providers being financially incentivised to support participants.
The recommendation is part of the AELP’s policy blueprint for the NRS, published today.
It also calls for learner eligibility requirements for the NRS to be relaxed to better address the automation risks, and for scheme participants to be allowed to top up their skills and have this formally recognised. The government should be discouraged from commissioning new resources where high-quality tools already exist, said the AELP, and providers with established track records of employer engagement should be better utilised.
All adult funding should be accessible to all types of provider, the organisation added, instead of funding being channelled to encourage more demand for adult learning. This could reduce "unjustifiable" subcontracting fees, for example.
AELP chief executive Mark Dawe said he believed the NRS represented “good policy intent” and was much-needed. However, the implementation had been piecemeal and lacked a clear and coherent plan and strategy, he added. “The scheme must be more than just a digital information-sharing platform if we are seriously going to tackle the adverse consequences of automation.
"What we need is a form of adult traineeship that particularly help adults with lower levels of qualifications or no qualifications. Despite the initial injection of £100 million, there remains a lack of investment in core delivery and provider participation funding.”
Education minister Michelle Donelan said the government was developing the NRS to help prepare adults for the jobs of the future, and it was therefore vital to "get it right".
“From the very start, in partnership with the TUC and CBI, we have worked closely with adults, employers and stakeholders – including the AELP – to develop the National Retraining Scheme. The first part of the scheme, Get Help to Retrain, is already being rolled out and we will continue to add new products and services only when we are sure that they meet the needs of the people who are set to benefit from them.
“We very much value the AELP’s feedback and will continue to engage them and providers in developing the full National Retraining Scheme. We will continue to listen to those adults already using Get Help to Retrain to make sure that the service helps adults to discover new opportunities and develop the skills they need to land a new job.”