Ministers struggle to improve modest uptake of Train to Gain

9th March 2007 at 00:00

Almost 22,000 employers with little or no tradition of training have signed up for free government cash to improve the skills of their workforce.

The number represents a fraction of more than 1 million enterprises in England entitled to the grants under the Government's Train to Gain scheme.

But ministers say it is a significant start.

Employers can get a full refund on the cost of training staff to level 2 (GCSE equivalent) if they seek advice through an independent brokerage scheme. The service offers independent advice and links the company to a college or other training provider to suit individual business needs.

There are 3.7m enterprises in England, employing 19.4m people. Almost 2.8m are one-person bands, 845,870 enterprises have up to 10 employees, 160,205 have 11 to 249 employees and more than 5,000 have above 250.

The struggle ministers face convincing small firms to train staff was revealed last week in a YouGov poll commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council.

Nearly half of small businesses are unaware that they can get free training for their staff from their local further education college, the research revealed.

The poll also found that 57 per cent of small companies do not use FE to train their employees.

Grants available since August have benefited 75,000 staff (0.2 per cent of the workforce) but most of these are among the least skilled and qualified in the country, according to Phil Hope, learning and skills minister.

"Train to Gain is an ambitious new approach to workplace skills," he said.

"It is a key part of this government's drive to push skills high up the agenda and maintain our competitiveness. Brokers are targeting the hardest-to-reach employers who have not traditionally trained their staff.

"We are reaching out to SMEs (small to medium enterprises), in particular, who can make use of free provision to give people the crucial platform of skills for employability."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now