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Awarding bodies bonanza

I was interested to read the article "157 Group working with colleges to launch their own awarding body" (August 20), which highlighted concerns over the financial motives of awarding organisations (AOs).

Following the decision to relax the criteria, more organisations have been encouraged to become AOs, seeing the opportunities afforded by this "almost billion-pound business". I believe it should not be seen as a commercial venture, but rather an opportunity to improve the education sector.

Only a small number channel profits back to the Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) for the good of furthering industry, skills and global competitiveness, with many owned by PLCs, which dish out profits to shareholders.

Like 157's plans for a "mutual" AO, our model at EAL is altruistic - working to the Government's Big Society idea by gifting our profits back into the engineering industry.

The Government needs to take stock. There are likely to be 200 AOs by the end of the year and something has to be done to maintain standards and protect niche sectors.

Ann Watson, managing director, EAL (EMTA Awards).

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