Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence



  The Association of Computer Trainers (ACT) has consistently sought to provide solutions to the problems surrounding the Individual Learning Account (ILA) scheme and its withdrawal. The present situation—with no funding for vocational training for the first time since 1992—is unsustainable for both learners and providers. The government is also now unable to meet its objectives and commitments in the field of lifelong learning.

  A replacement ILA programme is a priority for all parties. But it seems clear from our members' bilateral meetings with officials that it will be some months before any such scheme can come on line. To help address this vacuum, ACT has developed a proposal for an interim funded programme that will go some way towards meeting the requirements of all the parties involved.

  The proposed programme has clear benefits:

    —  It shares many of the strengths of an earlier funded programme (UK OnLine), that have been proven to be effective and easily managed.

    —  It will make available once more funded learning for individuals seeking career opportunities currently denied them by inadequate skills in a key sector.

    —  It will focus on clear, targeted groups within the community that are suffering most by the cancellation of the ILA programme.

    —  It will re-establish momentum in the crucial IT training sector, that is so important to future well being of the UK economy.

    —  It will have the necessary safeguards for the use of public money that were lacking in the ILA scheme.

    —  It will enable government to demonstrate clearly to its critics that it understands the needs of both learners and providers, and is putting in place a realistic interim programme.

    —  It has provision for a transparent, independent audit programme, funded by the training industry.

  The programme offers government an immediate opportunity to take action, without prejudicing the long-term future of funded training. We strongly urge you to give urgent consideration to the enclosed proposal and look forward to discussing the detail with you at our upcoming meeting.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 6 March 2002