The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has decided to substantially cut its funded qualifications list. It has published a list of 1,477 Level 2 to 4 qualifications which it says will not be approved for funding in 2014/15 and aims to make funding only available to qualifications of at least 15 credits.
“In hard times, where government agencies are watching every penny, a cull of the funded qualifications list makes sense, but not where it might negatively affect disadvantaged learners, niche industries or small and medium sized enterprises (SME),” warned Jonathan Ledger, Managing Director NSA MPS. “A qualification may have a small number of credits but this is not a measure of whether it is a key qualification for industry or that it is popular amongst users. My fear is that critical qualifications might get arbitrarily excluded from funding.”
While Mr Ledger believed that culling a qualification from the funding list did not mean that it was no longer available, these low credit qualifications may still be available from training providers and colleges, assuming they can make their delivery commercially viable. He argued that otherwise these qualifications may potentially be shelved. “Removing the funding leaves employers to pick up the tab once more which is likely to hit SME users hardest.”
The qualifications that are affected in the process and manufacturing sector are:
- GQA Level 2 Award In Knowledge of the Principles of the Glass Related Working Environment.
- IQ Level 2 Certificate In Glass Related Operations.
- PIABC Level 2 Award in Timber and Panel Products and their Uses.
- PIABC Level 2 Award In Tooling Technology Materials and Processes.
Lisa Williamson, Standards & Qualifications Manager, NSA MPS said: “We will work with employers, providers and awarding organisations to review the qualifications affected and where appropriate, lodge an appeal in the hope of overturning the SFA’s decision. We would urge all employers who use these qualifications and who wish to support their future use to contact us directly.”
For further information, tel: 01235 432030.