Labour’s candidate for mayor of the West Midlands has launched a “fightback” against the omission of 13 further education colleges in the region on the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP).
Siôn Simon, MEP for the West Midlands, said that the decision would “all but end technical education for young people in the West Midlands” and vowed to fight to overturn it.
Birmingham Metropolitan College, Bourneville College of Further Education, Buxton and Leek College, City College Coventry, Derwen College, Henley College Coventry, Hereward College of Further Education, Kidderminster College, King Edward VI College Nuneaton, Queen Alexandra College, Solihull College & University Centre, South and City College Birmingham and Telford College of Arts and Technology were all omitted from the RoATP when it was published last week.
The Association of Colleges (AoC) estimates that "around 30" colleges around the country have missed out on a place on the register to be eligible to deliver apprenticeships for levy-paying companies.
'I will fight to overturn this decision'
On his blog, Mr Simon writes: “Thirteen colleges, and many companies – good quality training providers, from across the West Midlands will be blocked from receiving the funding for apprenticeships. But not if I have anything to do with it. We must get this decision overturned. The Tories in London have turned their backs on apprenticeships – I will fight to overturn this decision.”
AoC chief executive David Hughes said: “We are concerned about the exclusion of some high-quality colleges from the register and we have followed up with Skills Funding Agency and Department for Education as a matter of urgency."
A spokesperson from the Department for Education said: “All those that applied to be on the register of training providers were given a clear set of criteria in order to receive funds for apprenticeship training, ensuring they are high quality and capable of delivering the training that young people deserve.
“There are currently over 170 training providers with a strong track record in the Birmingham area for employers to choose from. We have provided feedback to providers who have not been successful, all of whom will have the opportunity to reapply when the register reopens on 21 March.”