Is Train to Gain scuppered?

5th September 2008 at 01:00

This summer I found myself being made redundant from a large FE college because of a restructuring so that it could respond more effectively and efficiently to the demands of employer-engagement work.

The process has happened to colleagues across the country, and the impact is felt not only by managers like myself, but also lecturers, trainers, assessors and admin staff. They are all having to change their ways of working to meet the "responsive model". The FE sector has also employed dozens of "sales" people to sell their provision to employers. Change is no bad thing. We can all benefit from reflecting on our work and adopting different methods.

What concerns me is the impact on colleges and staff from this unwillingness by employers to take up Train to Gain (FE Focus, August 29). Have we put all our eggs into one basket? Has the credit crunch arrived and scuppered our chances of persuading employers to invest in staff when their order books are shrinking? How long will it take the economy to recover and what will happen to these staff when the sector cannot meet targets in 20089?

It was wrong to divert the Pounds 280m underspend to higher education. Colleges could have used this money to boost community based education, to develop English for speakers of other languages (Esol) and Skills for Life and to inspire adults into a world of lifelong learning.

This would have proved to be a good marketing tool to inspire learning in the workplace in the years to come.

So my questions are: will this slow the plethora of employer engagement related posts being offered in The TES? Will FE get another bashing from the Government because of a failure to meet targets? How will the Government put pressure on employers to take up the training to enhance the skills of a workforce to bring the UK in line with the rest of Europe?

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