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Train to Gain Under Attack (again)

Train to Gain is in the headlines again.  Nothing really new ... just regurgitating the same old issues around it being mismanaged.  This time its the turn of the Public Accounts Committee to take on the role of executioner, but they haven't minced their words.  Their main report released yesterday looks at the areas in which Train to Gain has been most effective and how it could be improved.

The press release highlights that £900 million has been spent on Train to Gain at the end of 2008-09 but the findings suggest that around 50 per cent of employers would have provided similar training without the subsidy they received.  That does also mean that 50 per cent wouldn't have, so you can't really knock it on that basis!

To give the PAC their due, they have summarised quite well the key issues around funding and have gone so far as to highlight three common failings in public sector programmes generally which is probably a familiar picture to providers.  These are:

  • initially high targets that are unrealistic and not based on evidence of what is achievable
  • action to address under-performance that takes insufficient account of trends in demand and capacity and economic factors
  • poor, untimely management information, making it difficult to identify and respond to problems quickly

We're sure there are many government funded training providers nodding at this point!

The Public Accounts Committee have also used the report to send a shot across the bows of the Skills Funding Agency warning them to address the identified issues in the future running of Train to Gain and in their management of programmes such as Skills Accounts.  

If you don't want to plough through the report, the press release makes good reading on it's own, so click here for the full details.


We wonder how much money has been spent on researching and reporting on the failings of Train to Gain.  Possibly not £900 million but a substantial sum none the less that could possibly have up-skilled more people through Train to Gain.  Just a thought!  


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