Asset Skills has welcomed the announcement in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review of an increase in funding for adult apprenticeships of up to £250 million by 2014-5. The Sector Skills Council for cleaning, facilities management, property and housing acknowledged the ending of the Train to Gain programme for supporting the costs of training for employers and welcomed the new small to medium enterprise focused training programme, although details are not yet clear.
It also welcomed the continuing support for basic skills provision so that those who did not succeed in these areas in school can continue to develop basic literacy and numeracy skills.
Chief executive of Asset Skills, Richard Beamish, said: "We view the ending of the Train to Gain programme with mixed feelings. We have worked hard alongside the Skills Funding Agency to ensure employers in the industries we cover receive the best possible support in terms of ensuring the skills bases vital to productivity and effectiveness. We also acknowledge that resources are finite and that some employers have found the system difficult to manage. We hope the increased focus on apprenticeships and on SMEs will enable support for skills where they are most needed, and within a simple, easy to understand, and effective system. Asset Skills will continue with its comprehensive programme of working directly with employers, simplifying the skills system for them, and ensuring their training needs are met. We achieve this through our Virtual Skills Academy and through our programme of meeting with employers whenever and wherever resources allow. The devil will be in the detail, of course, but we look forward to working closely with the Skills Funding Agency and Government departments to ensure we make the best possible use of the resources available."