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The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has issued the latest in a series of 'Guidance Notes' designed to communicate changes (primarily in funding) to the sector.

Not surprisingly it contains a few points worth noting:

  • During 2010/11 the SFA will be introducing a minimum contract level of £250,000. Providers who fall below this threshold will be encouraged to form partnerships and sub-contract work accordingly.
  • Where applicable, employer contributions will increase from 47.5% to 50%.
  • Large employers (1000+ employees) will see an up front 25% rate reduction for all 19+ learners on Train to Gain and Apprenticeships. Both public and private sector organisations will be included along with any provision delivered through National Employer Service (NES).
  • 50% reduction in funding for any second qualification including both level 2 and level 3.

It appears that the continued financial pressures on training providers who depend on a 'funded' business model are set to increase and perhaps that is part of the reason we are seeing many small companies either folding or 'for sale'. It will be interesting to understand the framework within which the proposed 'partnerships' will operate, although details are scarce at present.