Frustration at Train to Gain not being used to maximum benefit

22nd August 2008 at 01:00

I have read the article regarding Train to Gain (FE Focus, August 8) and the fact that there are "hundreds of thousands of pounds going unspent because employer demand has failed to meet expectations".

We are a training and educational company and delivered Train to Gain courses during the first year. While we were able to offer a variety of courses, the most popular one was the City amp; Guilds level two health and safety award.

Local businesses couldn't get enough of this course because it trained the workforce and made them more aware of health and safety responsibilities. We found businesses were so impressed with this that they were even prepared to fund courses for those members of staff who already had an alternative level two qualification.

However, a year later the course was removed - the reason being that "businesses should be funding health and safety courses themselves, as part of their responsibilities as businesses".

This may well be what the Learning and Skills Council and Government think should happen, but the harsh reality is that health and safety is not being addressed in many companies.

We saw this funded course as being such an advantage to businesses. It ticked so many boxes and met the Train to Gain criteria: it was a positive for all concerned - funding bodies, employers and employees.

This health and safety qualification was part of a large debate that has never been resolved. As a training company, I know for a fact that there is still a huge need for this course. Health and safety is generic and relevant to all sectors.

We are no longer involved with Train to Gain. There are only so many sector specific qualifications you can deliver. However, if the health and safety qualification was reintroduced, we would certainly be interested.

Train to Gain was bound to "slow down" at some point, regardless of how much funding was thrown at it. It is so frustrating to yet again read that the funding is still not being maximised or is not always being put to good use.

Nicki Harris, Director, Making Learning Work.

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