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Vocational Training: Finance

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how much is planned to be spent on Train to Gain in each year from 2007-08 to 2010-11; and how much has been allocated to (a) skills brokers, (b) wage compensation, (c) adult basic skills, (d) adult first full Level 2 and adult second full Level 2, (e) adult first non-Level 2 and adult second non-Level 2, (f) adult first full Level 3 and adult second full Level 3, (g) adult first non-Level 3 and adult second non-Level 3 and (h) higher education Level 4 provision in each year; (209789)

(2) how much was spent within Train to Gain on (a) private employers, (b) public employers, in each sector and (c) voluntary employers in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08;

(3) how much is expected to be spent within Train to Gain on (a) 16 to 19 year olds and (b) people aged 19 years and older from 2007-08 to 2010-11;

(4) how much is expected to be spent within Train to Gain on (a) volunteers, (b) the self-employed, (c) employees, (d) full-time employees and (e) part-time employees in each year from 2007-08 to 2010-11.

Since it was rolled out nationally from April 2006, Train to Gain has grown quickly. It has now engaged over 92,000 employers, supported nearly 455,000 employees to begin learning programmes, and delivered 186,720 full level 2 and 23,480 Skills for Life achievements. Recent evaluations of the service show that both employer and employee satisfaction with their experience of Train to Gain is high.

Since January 2008 both volunteers and the self-employed have been able to access high quality vocational skills training through Train to Gain. In a demand-led service like Train to Gain, the distribution of learners between different sectors, types of employees, volunteers, and the self-employed is driven by employer demand for and take up of the service. Recently completed evaluations show that a wide spread of industry sectors are accessing the service. We will continue to monitor that distribution through ongoing evaluation.

Government are investing more than £26 billion for 16 to 19-year-olds to participate in learning over the period 2007-08 to 2010-11. The Train to Gain service funds training for people aged 19 years and above. A breakdown of planned Train to Gain spend, by level, for the period 2007-08 to 2010-11 is set out in table 1. A breakdown of actual spend for 2007-08 will be available shortly, and I would be happy to share that with the hon. Member.

Table 1: Planned Train to Gain spend, 2007-08 to 2010-11

£ million

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Skills for Life

31

35

40

45

Full level 2

447

526

620

640

Full level 3

40

94

117

338

Developmental learning

2

1

0

0

Total

520

656

777

1,023

We have not to date funded ‘second’ level 2 or 3 qualifications within Train to Gain. As we agree new ‘compacts’ to ensure that the Train to Gain offer meets the particular needs of each key sector in the economy, we will identify those qualifications that are priorities for each sector, and offer some increased flexibility on funding for those qualifications.

Skills brokers work with employers to consider their skills needs at all levels, including level 4 and above where appropriate. We are currently working with the higher education sector to test how best we can offer an all-levels service through Train to Gain, through for example, the Higher Level Skills Pathfinders operating in three regions (NW, NE and SW).

Wage compensation will continue to be available over the period to 2010-11 for SMEs with fewer than 50 employees. Spend will be determined by employer take-up.

From April 2009, the Train to Gain brokerage offer will be integrated with the wider business support available through Business Link, and DIUS currently expects to invest £37 million in each of 2009-10 and 2010-11 to support delivery of that service.