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Fall in IT training since closure of ILAs


A survey of member of the Association of Computer Trainers shows a significant drop in the numbers of private individuals beginning IT training courses following the Government’s withdrawal of Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) in November 2001. There has been a fall of 34% for the period November 2001 to February 2002, compared with the equivalent period twelve months ago when ILAs were available. However, the figures for February 2002 show a year-on-year reduction in numbers of 42%, indicating that the position may yet get worse.

Revenue to IT training providers in the period is reported to be down over 55%, reflecting the industry’s need to discount prices to replace government funding, and its delivery of free training to many thousands of individuals for whom the government had pledged payment.

ACT Chairman James O’Brien said: "A survey of confidence amongst our members in early January suggested things would become bleak. These figures show that we were right to be concerned. The Government has severely damaged this industry. It has cancelled a vital funding stream overnight, promising to replace it ‘soon’. In reality, however, it is showing no sense of urgency in addressing the problems of the IT training sector, whilst, understandably, people who need training wait to see what happens next."

"At the same time, a number of ill-judged comments by ministers have damaged the reputation of a perfectly respectable sector that contributes enormously to the future well-being of the British economy. Our members have, rightly, honoured the agreements made between ourselves, the Government and the public to fund training booked up to December 7th 2001. The Government has now reneged on that agreement and left the providers to pick up the bill. The minister will not even discuss the matter, let alone come up with the money. The net effect of all this is utterly predictable. Training centres are closing their doors, planned investment is being withdrawn, and skilled, dedicated trainers are being made redundant. By the time the government gets its act together on a replacement scheme, the industry will have suffered great damage."


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