26.10.10

Adult Free Training for First Full NVQ Level 2 Scrapped

Amidst a host of other changes, including the expansion in the number of adult apprenticeships over the next five years, the ‘adult’ entitlement to free training for a first full NVQ level 2 was scrapped in last week’s public spending cuts.

The entitlement meant that people aged 25 or over, who for whatever reason had failed to gain the equivalent of 5 GCSE’s at A-C grade whilst they were at school, or subsequently, were entitled to free training to gain such a qualification. 

Critics of the move, such as TAEN, point out that such training, and achievement of the qualification, not only boost the self-confidence of adult learners and frequently encourages them to continue further with their learning. But it also boosts their employment prospects, since employers and recruiters increasingly use qualifications both as a proxy for skills and ability, and also as a filter when reviewing job applications. Removing the entitlement will potentially disadvantage many older jobseekers in future.

Further Education colleges, who have already seen a cut of 14 per cent to adult learner responsive budgets this year, are now facing further cuts of around 25 per cent.  But the Government said the spending on adult community learning will be protected and re-formed.

Other changes particularly effecting further education for adult learners aged 25+, include:

  • an additional £250 million a year by the end of the public spending review period which should fund an additional  75,000 apprenticeships every year.
  •  increases in the cost of learning, as the balance of funding is shifted more towards the individuals and the employers who benefit from them.
  • the scrapping of the previous Government’s flagship skills programme, Train to Gain. 
  •  the introduction of the offer a government-backed loans for training where repayments will be dependent on the learner’s income, to protect those on lower incomes. 
  •  the payment of fees by adults aged 25+ to study for an NVQ level 3 qualification (‘A’-level equivalent).
  •  cuts in the funding to help non-English speakers to learn English.
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