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Apprentices: Finance

Volume 502: debated on Thursday 10 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will issue a letter of intent to repay capped funds withheld by the Learning and Skills Council to the training providers of apprenticeships for those aged 19 years or more. (304263)

We have no plans to issue any such letters. Funding of Apprenticeships is the responsibility of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). The LSC contracts with FE colleges and training organisations to deliver training places funded up to a maximum contract value. In March 2009, providers were advised in writing by the LSC not to exceed or to further exceed Apprenticeship contract values for adults. Recruitment of new apprentices could continue up to maximum contract values and the LSC has committed to funding the training of apprentices who had already started on their programme.

The LSC has a clear responsibility to manage its finances within agreed budgets and made it clear to providers that any further commitments above their agreed maximum contract values would not be funded. However the LSC has sought to ensure, through performance management actions, that funding is moved to the highest performing providers. Where possible, for 19-24 provision this has resulted in increases to agreed contract levels, but as demand has been so high for those aged over 25 the LSC has had to continue to take actions to manage demand to remain within the overall funding limits it has available.