The costs of training at further education colleges is set to rise as the government focuses its resources on young people and basic skills.
Under a two-year strategy, which builds on the policy priorities in this year’s 14-19 and Skills White Papers, investment will be increased to enable more 14-19 year olds to stay in education or training and train more adults without basic skills and qualifications.
At the moment the government picks up nearly three quarters of the cost of adult learning courses. Under the new strategy, the level of contributions from employers and individuals who aren't entitled to free tuition would rise to 37.5% in 2007/08.
Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education Bill Rammell announced the changes on Friday, 21 October. He said: "It is right that individuals and employers should contribute to costs in line with their ability to pay and the benefits they receive. We believe that learners will understand and accept this approach especially if they are better informed about how much the public purse contributes to their learning."
The changes will be implemented by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the LSC, said: "In those areas of learning where fee contributions will rise, the LSC believes that it is right that employers, and those who already have qualifications and wish to study further, should pay more towards their learning, which we believe will still represent great value for money. These contributions reflect the tangible benefits that employers and individuals receive from increased skills levels."
Funding will be targeted at:
• Increasing provision for 16-19 year olds – an 11% rise in funding to 2007/08;
• Maintaining the numbers of young people in apprenticeships while increasing the numbers completing their apprenticeships;
• Providing free tuition for adults in need of basic literacy and numeracy skills and those studying for a first level 2 qualification (equivalent to five GCSEs A* - C);
• Rolling out the National Employer Training programme across the country by August 2006;
• Maintaining the value of funding for personal and community development learning with £210 million set aside from 2006/07.