No return to ILAs, says government

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The government has confirmed there will be no direct replacement of the Individual Learning Account scheme, 18 months after the funding scheme collapsed following allegations of fraud and mismanagement.

The new Skills Strategy white paper, published on 9 July, states that the government has decided not to introduce another scheme along these lines, but is committed to many of the principles behind the programme.

As a result, the white paper makes provision for an entitlement to free training for those with few or no qualifications to work to level 2. However, where employers decide they would like training packages tailored to their own requirements, they will be expected to shoulder some or all of the costs involved. Learners who have already achieved qualifications at level 3 or above and are undertaking further qualifications will be expected to fund them themselves or approach their employer for assistance.

The paper also announces plans to introduce a Unique Learner Number to help track learners achievements and progress, in a bid to keep track of skills development. In addition, there are plans to increase the range of training providers able to offer training under public funding where they have 'something distinctive to offer and can meet the necessary quality standards'.

TrainingZONE says: The failure to replace the ILA scheme in its full scope is a disappointment, but plans to address the skills needs of the less-well qualified are helpful. Elsewhere in the White Paper, however, the government has expressed its intention to address the shortage of leadership and management skills, but it seems there will be no direct funding available to employers or individuals wishing to improve their skills in these areas.

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