...but better scheme is on the way

7th December 2007 at 00:00

The government said it would respond to employers' concerns over the Train to Gain scheme by improving specialist brokerage services and offering a wider range of qualifications.

John Denham, Secretary of State for Skills, has published a plan to ensure that, by 2010, the scheme meets its target of training 800,000 people a year for level two (equivalent to five good GCSEs) qualifications.

Under the plan, skills brokers will provide more industry-specific expertise. To boost take-up, they will also offer more specialist support to larger employers - those with more than 5,000 staff - shifting the focus away from small companies, which are least likely to train staff.

The range of qualifications is also set to expand and become more flexible, following criticism of the narrow focus on full level two qualifications.

Apprenticeships will be available for over-19s and basic skills will be offered as a stand-alone qualification rather than just as part of a level two programme.

In certain circumstances, funding will be available for a second level two qualification for those whose qualifications do not match the requirements of their job.

The Government also expects colleges to do more to involve employers, saying that FE should persuade businesses of the benefits of paying for training where it is not covered by public funding.

But it said that Train to Gain had already made significant achievements, despite some employers' misgivings.

Assessing the scheme so far, the Government reported that brokers were ahead of target, having seen more than 52,000 employers about their training needs - although fewer than half of these went on to train staff in the first year. Almost 250,000 employees were trained last year.

In total, 72 per cent of companies involved were defined as being "hard to reach" - smaller firms that have not done any accredited training in the past 12 months.

Overall, satisfaction with the scheme was high, with more than four out of five employers satisfied with the service and similar rates of approval among staff.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today