Pilots point to risk of duplication

A MAJOR reservation about ILAs is that they might duplicate and subsidise existing training, effectively wasting the pound;23 million the Executive is allocating.

Scottish Enterprise Grampian is also concerned that learning accounts might fail to add value. Its pilot confirmed that some of those who apply have already decided what and where they want to learn.

"It could be argued that they would have done the learning anyway, without the incentive of a contribution from the individual learning account. We have moved away from directly targeting those who are least likely to learn and most likely to benefit," the Grampian paper states.

It also notes that those who are pressed to take part by their employer "may be perceived to be doing training or learning that their employer should be supportin without a contribution from the individual learning accounts".

Frank Pignatelli, chief executive of Learndirect Scotland, gave MSPs an assurance that he saw it as part of his job to ensure there was as little duplication as possible and to "make sense of all that for the clients".

The cross-party report says the committee shares the conclusion of Scottish Enterprise Fife, where learning accounts have also been piloted, that "the single most important issue to have emerged is how to translate the opening of individual learning accounts into purposeful training".

But the Association of Scottish Colleges questions whether learning accounts will be sufficient to pay for meaningful training given the level of fees which private training firms in particular will be forced to charge.

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