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Free offer gives good value

The Government's free level 2 entitlement has had a positive impact and tens of thousands of new learners across the country can testify to this.

("Free courses failed to reel in adult learners" and editor's comment, FE Focus, June 23).

This Government is determined to help people achieve a first full level 2 qualification (equivalent to 5 good GCSEs).

The entitlement was successfully trialled in the north-east and south-east regions in 200405 and results were in line with expectations. Learner participation on full level 2 courses went up by 21 per cent in the north-east and 7 per cent in the south-east, compared with 5 per cent nationally in 20045.

Building on this and balancing the impact on other programmes, the Learning and Skills Council is managing a planned transition to develop FE's capacity to deliver more first full level 2 qualifications. In 20056, 28,000 learners in England under the scheme had their fees remitted for full level 2.

Colleges and training providers are gearing up to offer the entitlement nationally in September. Everyone deserves an opportunity to improve their skills. In future, there will be fewer unskilled jobs. With 10 million adults of working age not qualified to level 2, our sweeping reforms will help deliver the level 2 skills people need to succeed in their careers.

Bill Rammell

Further and higher education minister, Department for Education and Skills

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