Scams, financial crises and other 'demand-led' fiascos

30th June 2006 at 01:00
Efforts to make colleges provide courses that meet the demands of the marketplace have a chequered history.

When colleges were freed from local authority control in 1993, the then Tory government created a range of measures with this aim, including franchising courses to industry. The state paid for staff training if real "added value" was identified for employers.

So Halton College registered Tesco shelf-stackers, Bilston had partnerships with operatic societies and brass bands. South Devon ventured into Scuba diving. All made perfect sense - until inspectors blew the whistle.

Then there was so-called "demand-led" funding which gave colleges a bottomless well of cash for growth, although at a cut price per student.

Recruitment hit record highs until scams and bogus courses were unearthed.

The scheme was abandoned - plunging some 70 colleges into debt.

Then New Labour tried individual learning accounts. , supposedly a miracle cure for the skills deficit. Instead, fraud and lack of quality safeguards led to its ignominious demise.

So, when the Government talks up the skills-led agenda and Train to Gain, and pushes demand-led funding regimes for colleges and other providers, there will be inevitable concern that the schemes will be flawed or bogged down in bureaucracy.

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