The government’s qualifications funding system is “out of date” and needs to be more flexible, according to food and drink sector skills council Improve.
The present system only funds qualifications if they are fully accredited and therefore restricts the provision and availability of much workplace training potentially offered by employers, the organisation said.
“At present we have a one-size fits all approach to funding training in the workplace, which assumes pre-set qualifications can answer the skills issues all businesses face,” said Improve chief executive Jack Matthews.
“In the current economic climate, investing in the skills of employees is a sound means of improving efficiency and performance that will help a business prepare for recovery. But with budgets being squeezed, employers need help. Pre-packaged qualifications can never address the specific skills needs of all individual businesses, so there is a degree of inefficiency about the millions being poured into them.”
Funds should be linked to skills attainment, not qualifications, with support offered to short courses and individual units as well as the broader qualifications of which they were a part, said Matthews.
He said the introduction of the Qualifications and Credit Framework - a credit-based system for qualifications which is under construction at the moment - would create a more flexible funding system. “It makes sense to link funding to the accumulative attainment of credits and their relevance and application in the workplace, rather than simply to the final qualification, otherwise the theory and the practice won’t match.
“The government must recognise this and allow skills and training to become truly demand-led and responsive to the needs of industry.”