Courses with no demand to see funds scrapped

THE DEPARTMENT of Business, Innovation and Skills has announced that funding for 1,884 courses that it considers to have little value to employers or learners will be removed.

There are many vocational courses, paid for by the government, that have attracted fewer than 100 participants in the past two years.

Matthew Hancock, the skills minister, said that courses that have a low take-up but are necessary for specific industries would be protected.

“By stripping these out and putting in place new tougher rules on qualifications we will put a laser sharp focus on those courses that give students a clear path from study to rewarding jobs”, he added.

New rules will be introduced, mandating that funded courses must meet specific requirements, like a minimum cohort size.

Recently, businesses surveyed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) suggested that firms should have more control over vocational training. 93 per cent of respondents said that they were more likely to know what skills their employees required.

The scrapped courses had varied content, from one qualification which involved organising and recruitment for trade unions, to others in fish husbandry and oral skills for interviews.

Hancock specified that if relatively unpopular courses had a direct need in a business, they would be retained, using blacksmithing and transporting radioactive materials as examples.

Many such courses have already been removed from the calculations which are used to decide league table positions, after suggestions that they created a perverse incentive to nudge pupils onto poor courses.

The Wolf Report, which analysed vocational courses in 2011, suggested that many 14-16 year olds were doing courses with little to no value.