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Train to Gain will help skills

I would like to respond to the issues raised by Julian Gravatt of the Association of Colleges, in his article "Prepare to scrap for your share of pound;500million training pilot." (FE Focus, May 26.) Train to Gain has been developed directly from the lessons learned from employer training pilots where companies were unanimous about the sort of service and support they were looking for from the sector.

The LSC has engaged in detailed consultation with employers, training providers and colleges. Consultation in which the AOL played a part. The resulting service is something that employers and providers have told us that they want, not something that we are imposing upon them.

Train to Gain will bring much needed change in the learning sector. Yes, the tendering process may be uncomfortable for some training providers in the short term, but the Learning and Skills Council is committed to the long-term improvement of skills in England. And what is more important than that?

We make no apologies for ensuring that skills brokers and providers will target small and medium-sized businesses, those businesses that are most in need of training and haven't traditionally invested in the skills of their workforce.

We also make no apologies for ensuring that the employees must be willing to acquire a Level 2 (GCSE-equivalent) qualification, the minimum needed for employability, mobility, and to get on in life.

Such fundamental requirements hardly add up to a "command-led" service and will instead ensure the highest quality of training delivered flexibly and responsively in order to meet the needs of employers.

Train to Gain presents a unique opportunity for training providers to respond to the exact needs of employers.

With only 18 per cent of employers currently using FE colleges for training, Train to Gain will be a huge opportunity for the learning sector to involve more employers, more learners and to grow the training market.

Jaine Clarke

Director, Skills for Employers

Learning and Skills Council

Cheylesmore House

Quinton Road, Coventry

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