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The Effect of Governement Spending Cuts on Staff Training Courses
A number of skill QUANGOS are facing stark efficiency savings. Train to Gain, the government initiative to get employers investing in training for their staff, is one of the major casualties of the government's comprehensive spending review. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer abolished the Train to Gain scheme claiming that it offers exceptionally low value for money. There are varying reports as to the validity of his statement. Train to Gain say that over one million employees and 143,000 businesses have benefited from increased skill levels thanks to the scheme. Critics state that these figures do not compliment the £200 million annual budget for the project which was nationally rolled out in August 2006. The Guardian newspaper put the costs for the project at 1.4 billion a year. The National Audit Office found that half of that money was given away with no noticeable benefit to the taxpayer. It also noted that some training providers had an appalling success rate of around 8% and that around half of all of the businesses involved reporting no difference in profits, productivity or sales. This is not the result that most businesses who have an organised staff training program notice leading us to believe that Train to Gain has not always offered the best advice or commissioned the best staff training firms.
The service was aimed at getting people over 25 years of age qualifications that equal the value of A-Levels. This was done by skills brokerage, matching businesses with skills advice and further education courses, as well as providing information about relevant grants and funding available. The future of the Train to Gain service has been questionable since a report published in July 2009 doubted whether it offered tax payers good value for money. It has also been noted that the scheme was funding training that businesses would have invested in anyway.
£150 million of the Train to Gain budget will be invested into creating 50,000 more apprenticeship places particularly in small and medium enterprises. The other £50 million will be redirected into capital investments in colleges. The news that many apprenticeships will be created for those over the age of 19 has been generally met with positive reactions. It is believed that the private sector will step in and meet the demand for both staff training and consultancy on the issue. £20 billion is spent by private companies on staff training and it is hoped that this figure will increase as the government steps back. The government made clear that training staff is still of vital importance particularly during challenging economic times. Increasing staff skill level has a tangible link to business growth.
There are many training courses available for staff of all levels of expertise. Getting staff better trained whether it is in management skills training or job specific courses such as sales negotiation training has a positive affect on business. The hope is that the rate of staff training will not decrease as a result of the governments budget cuts but that employers will remain keen to train their staff in order to feel the benefits of good quality staff training.