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More funding for post-16 skills


Following recent announcements of increased funding for post-16 and adult training, Education and Skills Secretary Charles Clarke has confirmed that as from April next year the LSC will receive a major increase in its budget giving it in excess of £8.0 billion in 2003-04, rising to £9.2 billion in 2005-06. He has emphasised that this record investment had to bring about radical and sustained improvements, and significantly drive up the country’s overall skill levels.

Charles Clarke said: "This money is allocated on a something for something basis. A vibrant economy needs thriving businesses, and they in turn need a skilled and flexible workforce, supported by a high quality and responsive further education and training system. I am confident that the LSC can build on the significant progress it has already made, and use the additional resources to deliver the education and training that learners and employers need, and to standards that are second to none.

"I have already seen what the LSC is capable of through its highly successfully bite-sized learning campaign, and through the effective implementation of the Centres of Vocational Excellence programme. I have also been impressed by the support and enthusiasm with which it has taken forward the new Employer Training Pilots."

New funding flexibilities are designed to help the LSC and its providers plan ahead with much more certainty over the next 3 years, and to transform the range of learning provision on offer. Decisions on funding will be linked to new 3-year delivery plans developed by colleges and training providers. The LSC will also, for the first time, be able to carry over unspent funds from one year to the next.

The Secretary of State said: "We recognise that one size does not fit all. To achieve our vision of a learning society, we must see far greater devolution to the front line. That means giving local people responsibility for deciding what provision is needed in each locality. With that comes a much greater focus on delivery, and I expect the LSC to be totally focused on driving up performance and standards."

He also recognised that the LSC could not deliver this massive agenda for reform on its own. Welcoming the LSCs response to the bureaucracy busting recommendations published by the Sweeney Group, he added: "I want the LSC and its local Councils to support and work with colleges, schools and private training providers, to improve performance and to deliver success for all. This can only be done in partnership, and will require a relationship based on trust and open communication. I expect the Council to be able to negotiate effectively with all providers; to spot and challenge under-performance; and to intervene and provide support where needed. I also look to you to continue to engage strategically with employers and other key partners, both nationally and locally.

"The Council has the opportunity to transform the performance of the learning and skills sector. It is now important to demonstrate results; to be seen to be delivering; and to be seen as an exemplar organization, that adds value to its key partners."


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