The Association of Employment and Learning Providers has submitted a 10-point sustainable investment plan to the Treasury ahead of the government spending review.
The plan would increase the impact that skills training has on social mobility and workforce productivity, according to the AELP.
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It’s not just a hopeful attempt to shake the money tree, says ALEP chief executive Mark Dawe. “The spending review is crunch time in making sure that Britain’s flagship skills programme has a sustainable future at all levels of education and training," he added.
“Recognising that only a one-year settlement may be on the cards, our focus is on what already works effectively and on more efficient spending of scarce public resources within education."
AELP's skills funding plan
1. Ensure adequate funding for apprenticeships at all levels – whether it’s from the apprenticeship levy or other sources – to match employer demand at all levels.
2. If there are funding constraints, introduce a standalone non-levy apprenticeship budget of a minimum of £1 billion to ensure the 98 per cent of employers not paying the apprenticeship levy have access to high-quality apprenticeships.
3. Ensure there’s fair funding for learners that need English and maths functional skills when delivered as part of an apprenticeship – at least equal to the current classroom fully-funded rate.
4. Revise the set of financial incentives on apprenticeships for both providers and employers for supporting young people in order to rebalance the focus of early talent.
5. Ensure that prisoners are included within the definition of employees for the purpose of apprenticeships when working on temporary release or within the prison to enable them to start a full apprenticeship.
6. Provide additional funding to support the relaunch, growth and promotion of traineeships to support young people to progress into work, an apprenticeship, further education or training.
7. Increase adult funding for both the national budget and combined authorities budget to meet the ever-increasing demand in adult skills including literacy, numeracy, digital and first level 2 provision.
8. Procure all of the remaining Education and Skills Funding Agency-managed national Adult Education Budget (AEB), including grant allocations, to ensure value for money, meeting the needs of communities and employers. Spend more of the budget on frontline delivery rather than it being absorbed by needless management fees and charges.
9. Issue a clear statement of commitment and clarity on the future UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) – the replacement for the existing European Social Fund (ESF) funding – to support ongoing investment in sector capacity and expertise.
10. Ensure that there’s adequate additional participation funding available to all providers to enable the success of the government’s new National Retraining Scheme, which will signpost adults to appropriate flexible learning programmes to allow them to reskill and retrain, including those at threat through automation.