Following its passage through parliament, the government’s flagship skills legislation received royal assent, and became law on Thursday 28 April 2022- just before the close of this parliamentary session. The Act represents a step forward for the skills sector and shows that closing the nation’s skills gap will be a vital part of the economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.
AELP worked hard to lobby for improvements to the Bill during its journey through both Houses of Parliament. As a result of AELP’s work, more young people will be able to access careers information, advice and guidance that sets out all their academic and vocational options. However, there are two notable parts of the Act where concerns remain.
Although AELP support widening the remit and involvement of different partners in Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) – such as more employer representative bodies and combined authorities – the lack of a statutory role for all types of FE providers is frustrating. Independent training providers (ITPs) have a strong track record of engaging with local employers of all sizes and delivering skills provision according to their needs. It would be a mistake to exclude them from the development of LSIPs.
AELP are also concerned that the list of post-16 education or training providers, could negatively impact training providers. Although AELP supports measures to protect learners, they will be seeking assurances that the costs and requirements involved in the list of post-16 education or training providers will not put disproportionate barriers in the way of smaller providers hoping to join. This is particularly important given the background of rising operating costs affecting the whole economy.
Jane Hickie, AELP Chief Executive, said:
“Although the Skills and Post-16 Education Act receiving royal assent is welcome news, there were some key opportunities that were missed during the Bill’s passage through parliament. I am delighted that due to the lobbying of AELP and others, that more young people will have increased access to quality careers information, advice, and guidance in schools.
“I am, however, still concerned that the costs and requirements of joining the list of providers will place an unfair burden on many of our members- particularly smaller providers- who may deliver training for niche sectors, or in more rural areas. In addition, we would like to see FE providers of all types included in the development of Local Skills Improvement Plans. We will, of course, continue to work with decision-makers on these two vital issues.”
The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) is a national membership body, proudly representing around 800 organisations. AELP members support thousands of businesses and millions of learners in England by delivering a wide range of training, vocational learning, and employability programmes.
For further information or for interviews please contact Matt Strong, Communications Manager, AELP, on 07920 161685 or [email protected]