Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Minister responsible for apprenticeship policy refuses to meet with local apprenticeship provider

Minister responsible for apprenticeship policy refuses to meet with local apprenticeship provider

I have received an incredibly disappointing email from Matt Hancock, the Skills Minister this week, refusing to meet with me and representatives of North Lancashire Training Group (NLTG) about the changes the Government is bringing in to funding for apprenticeships.

I wrote to the Minister recently asking for a meeting and his office replied simply stating that they would not.

The Group, which provides an excellent service and has helped many of my constituents to get on with their careers, is naturally concerned about the changes, which could seriously damage their ability to help young people with training and apprenticeships. 

The Government is changing the rules so that the employer who takes on the apprentice receives the funding which is then paid to the training provider, rather than the current system by which the training providers are paid directly. 

In many instances the new system may be preferable, however the Government has removed from the consultation document even the possibility of continuing with the current funding system – even where all parties want to do so. Moreover the new system could end up putting a huge financial and resource strain on Ofsted who will be required to undertake extra inspections.

Despite the fact that the consultation process is open, the Minister is refusing to meet with my constituents and I to discuss this matter. Surely hearing the opinions of the training providers who will be directly involved in any new system should be an integral part of this process.

The Government have clearly made up their mind and don't want to listen to the voices of the people this policy will affect, and upon who they will rely to make it work.