We remain absolutely committed to making a success of the Train to Gain programme, demonstrating the essential role of FE in meeting the skills needs of the economy.
For every financial year, it is common sense that we balance our budgets to get best value for the taxpayer out of the overall resources at our disposal, across the range of public services we fund.
As part of that balancing to meet wider priorities, pound;115 million of Train to Gain funds from 2007-8 will be reinvested into FE and Skills for 2008- 9. This will support the vital contribution FE colleges continue to make in bringing about the sharp improvement in skills needed by our economy and public services.
It is not true that the number of learners in FE has been affected solely because of the diversion of funds to Train to Gain over the past few years. Our significant reprioritisation of funding has primarily taken place within the FE budget, and it has shown dividends. More than 2.25 million adults have achieved a basic skills qualification since 2001, hitting our 2010 target two years early. Train to Gain is working. Research shows that, of learners who complete such courses, 43 per cent get better pay and 30 per cent promotion.
Bill Rammell, Minister for lifelong learning, further and higher education, DIUS.