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FE's pound;3m salary doesn't suit austere times

As the rate of unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds is now widely understood to be nudging one million - the highest ever recorded - TES reported the Institute for Fiscal Studies' discovery that the Coalition "was making the biggest cut to education budgets since the 1950s", with a total real-terms reduction of 20 per cent for 16-19 provision ("Stop the `whingeing' and get on with it', 4 November).

I was somewhat perplexed to then read in FE Focus that the UK's fastest- growing training and apprenticeships provider, Elmfield Training, which receives the majority of its income from taxpayer funds administered by the Skills Funding Agency, last year alone generated hefty pound;12 million profits and that, consequently, the director and majority shareholder was in receipt of a generous pound;3 million share dividend ("Director of training company earned pound;3m").

In such austere times, might it be the case that, in light of the above, taxpayer funds allocated to this provider are either overly generous or their training and apprenticeship programmes, when implemented, are significantly less costly than estimated (or, plausibly, both)?

Tony Fort, FEHE lecturer, Burnley, Lancashire.

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