Memorandum submitted by North Lancs Training Group Ltd

 

North Lancs Training Group Ltd is a work based learning provider. For 40 years NLTG has been heavily involved in the training of Apprenticeships and young people aged between 16 and 25. We also deliver a high quality e2e programme from 5 centres across the North West.

 

NLTG has one of the highest e2e progression rates in the country. We were delighted to recently support an LSC National Office project to identify the factors supporting progression which involved the top 30 performing providers in the country. Young people who enter our e2e programme typically need to overcome multiple barriers if they are to progress successfully to Apprenticeships, Further Education or employment. The key factors which we find help young people progress successfully at the end of their e2e programme are:

 

The availability of work placements and supportive relationships with employers

High quality support and guidance

Opportunities to develop personal and social skills

Clear objectives and targets which support a learner's progression aim.

 

We believe that our e2e programme is exceptionally strong in each of these areas and offers highly innovative practice not least in terms of personal and social development, which we feel is the biggest barrier to progression for many young people.

 

As we prepare for the introduction of Foundation Learning we are concerned as to how this will meet the needs of all our learners as we do not anticipate a significant change in the types of learners being referred to us. Whilst we recognise the importance of offering learners the opportunity to undertake qualifications, some of our learners require an initial period of re-engagement. We are concerned therefore that we will be unable to accept learners who are not yet ready to engage immediately in working towards a qualification and the impact that this might have on local NEET figures.

 

We feel that the reintroduction of EMA means testing for this group of learners is a backwards step. As you are aware the research which Janet Jackson commissioned Skillcom to undertake a few years ago on the impact of EMA on e2e played a key role in reversing the decision for e2e learners. Whilst we recognise that many learners would be eligible for EMA the problem often lies in getting their parents and guardians to complete the relevant documentation as they have a perception that their other benefits would be affected.

 

Whilst we are eager to embrace the introduction of Foundation Learning we feel that more flexibility in the design methodology and a funding model which meets the needs of all learners will be vital in helping to reduce NEET figures.

 

March 2010