Skills Minister John Hayes has launched a couple of public consultations, with the aim of understanding how scarce public resources should be used to best effect to meet employers’ requirements.
The ‘Skills for Sustainable Growth’ document outlines the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ view on skills’ priorities and how they should be delivered, while the ‘Further Education and Skills Funding System and Methodology’ examines ways in which funding should best be allocated and used. This includes exploring issues such as reach funding policy and budgetary arrangements for colleges and training organisations, the funding formula, allocations, procurement and contracting and performance management.
John Hayes, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, said that only by looking at learning in the round would it be possible to “ensure that it takes its place at the heart of both business strategy and community life”.
“Delivering future priorities will involve making difficult choices about the use of public funds. I believe that we can deliver more and save money. But we will only achieve cost-effectiveness by challenging orthodox assumptions about what skills are for, how they are funded and what role government should play,” he added.
The two documents are inviting views on how to optimise private sector investment and ensure “more limited” public money is focused where it is most needed. It is also looking at how to make the skills system simpler and more effective and how to better support employers and individuals in developing skills that meet the needs of the economy.
The consultation will also explore how to encourage businesses to support local community learning and how colleges and other training organisations should be held to account for their performance in responding to employers’ and learners’ needs by prioritising training that adds real economic value.
The findings will be used to inform the coalition government’s strategy on skills, which will be published in the autumn following the announcement of the Comprehensive Spending Review. It will outline the government’s aims for the skills system and lay out a framework for policy over the next five years.