More into jobs but fewer NVQs

Ngaio Crequer reports on this week's publication of performance league tables for training and enterprise councils.

Wide variations in the performance of training and enterprise councils are revealed in league tables published this week.

Overall, the tables show that the TECs are continuing to improve their performance. However there was a 15 per cent drop in national vocational qualifications gained by adults on the Training for Work scheme.

Chris Humphries, chief executive of the TEC national council said this was because TECs had focused their priorities on getting people into jobs.

"Many more people are getting jobs, and are only achieving partial NVQs. The idea is that people get jobs and then, with the agreement of the employer, go on to complete the NVQ."

Rotherham Training and Enterprise Council emerges as a top-performer in the league tables, alongside Kent and West London.

In Rotherham, for every 100 youth trainees signed up, 67 had achieved a full national vocational qualification.

Under Training for Work, the figure for jobs is 42 per 100 participants. This is a little below the national average, but is regarded as impressive considering the economic circumstances.

Kent TEC has reached high levels in its Investors in People performance. It has achieved 176 large- company IIP recognitions, and 155 medium-to-large company recognitions.

West London saw a great improvement in the number of young people who were successful on Youth Training. For every 100 who completed their training 74 gained an NVQ.

Nationally there are huge variations in performance. Stockport and High Peak achieved success for 43 of every 100 YT participants, compared to 86 per cent in East Lancashire. Centec's (Central London) figures for Training for Work are 28 per 100, compared to 64 for North London.

The figures show that fewer than six out of 10 youth trainees get qualifications at the end of their course.

And of those people starting a Training for Work scheme, no more than half end up with a job. The figures provided in the bar charts (right) show the extent of failure under employment schemes set up by the previous Conservative government.

Both Youth Training and Training for Work are due to be replaced by Welfare to Work, the scheme for getting the young unemployed into work, education or training.

The figures suggest ministers have a mountain to climb if they are going to increase success rates.

The figures also show wide regional variations in TEC performance. London provided the biggest proportion - 60 per cent - of those on Youth Training getting NVQs. But of similar trainees on Merseyside only just over half got an NVQ.

The variations in performance are even greater on the Training for Work scheme. In the East Midlands just over 48 per cent of people finished the scheme with a job while in Merseyside, the worst performer, only 38 per cent found employment.

From next year Government offices in the regions will publish annual reports on the performance and governance of TECs. They will highlight areas where TECs are making good progress and areas where further improvement is sought.

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