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Taking action in higher education

Lecturers back call for review of damage to adult learning

2 August 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU has endorsed concerns of the Commons Education and Skills Select Committee about some elements of the government's strategy for improving post-16 skills.

A committee report released today expresses concern about some evidence received about the working of the Train to Gain scheme for funding new employment related training – in particular questions of quality, added layers of bureaucracy, and whether much funding might be paying for training for which employers would otherwise have paid.

The Committee also expressed concerns about the decline in adult education courses for personal development and purposes other than for employment, and the 'unintended consequences' of funding arrangements which have led to contraction of provision for teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, said: 'UCU also welcomes the commitment of the government to developing the nation's skills. However we have doubts about the emphasis on Train to Gain and about its implementation. We agree with the committee that colleges should be encouraged to develop their support for local business. Resources to do that are important and, as the committee points out, a more flexible way of targeting funds is needed.

'I welcome the concern expressed about reductions in adults learning and the calls for urgent reviews of how to develop enabling skills for older learners and of funding for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

'I hope the government will respond quickly to these concerns.'