Almost uniquely in the world, independent training providers (ITPs) are recognised as a key component of the English further education and skills system, offering innovative models of delivery tailored with a strong understanding of what is important for learners, and what works for employers.
In spite of this, many ITPs feel that the policies and regulations that govern their activities are predominately shaped with the mainstream further education estate in mind – often by accident, but increasingly by design – in a way that seems often to result in limiting rather than expanding their role. For many years, policymakers have failed to make the best – or sometimes, any - use of the full range of skills and expertise that ITPs have to offer, even though large parts of the system are already heavily reliant on them.
This report details the breadth and value of ITP provision in England, and its fundamental importance to the provision of high-quality skills for learners, employers and the economy as a whole. Using case studies it demonstrates how much more ITPs could do if policymakers were to properly recognise and accommodate the particular strengths they have to offer; details areas where policy and regulation actively constrains them from doing what they do best; and makes seven recommendations designed to allow ITPs to make an even bigger contribution to the prospects of both individuals and the employers for whom they work.