UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Personal Skills Accounts on Course for Next Autumn, Reports Find

Press Release   •   Dec 24, 2009 10:15 GMT

Trials of a scheme to improve access to information about training courses, and show learners how much Government funding is available to them are so far proving to be successful, a report out today has found.

An assessment of the pilot scheme found skills accounts had a number of benefits, including encouraging people to take up and complete courses.

Ninety-four per cent of people who responded to the recent user survey think that skills accounts are a good idea and 80 per cent of respondents said having a skills account would encourage them to take part in future learning.

Skills accounts, which are currently being piloted by the Government, will be rolled out in autumn 2010, and have been assessed in a report published today. The report also shows that this kind of support is benefitting learners by providing information about courses and Government funding for training, and access to information, advice and guidance.

The findings of the ongoing evaluations of skills accounts will help the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) ensure skills accounts are rolled out successfully from autumn 2010. They form an important part of the skills strategy, Skills for Growth, launched by ministers last month.

Skills Minister Kevin Brennan said:

“Skills accounts will put choice in the hands of the learners and allow them to take control of their learning and working lives. It is vital people are armed with information and advice that will enable them to make the right decisions to get into learning and work.

“The information available through skills accounts mean learners will see just how committed Government is to delivering skills and see how much funding has been made available to support them.

“Piloting this service and asking for feedback means that we can adapt the website and its tools to best meet learners’ needs when they are made available next year.”

Chris Banks, Chairman of the Learning and Skills Council, said:

“Skills accounts are designed to empower all learners by providing access to the information and advice they need to need make the right choices about the skills they need to progress in life and work.

“During the trials the LSC is working closely with learners to ensure that the service is designed to meet their needs.  The ambitious plans set out in Skills for Growth mean that in future all adults, including those who need new skills to find sustainable employment, will be able to access a personal skills account.

Trebling the number of organisations where skills accounts can be used demonstrates a real commitment to putting learner’s needs at the heart of the skills system.”

Skills accounts will help people assess their skills, interests and qualifications, understand the level of funding available to them, access detailed information about career options and choose a suitable course. These online tools performed well in the survey, showing that the Government is on the right track to providing the kind of service that people want.

The Government’s Skills for Growth strategy takes plans for skills accounts even further. The number of organisations offering places where skills accounts can be used will treble to 1500, allowing students to shop around for training. This will be backed by consistent information on which courses and colleges will best meet individual needs.

Skills accounts will be available online from autumn 2010. Users will be able to find out how much funding is available to support their learning, access useful information, advice and guidance, and build up a record of their achievements.

Notes to editors

1. Skills accounts build on previously trialled Adult Learner Accounts which were focused solely on Level three provision. Trials of skills accounts have incorporated lessons learnt from the evaluation of ALAs, which the LSC has also published today.

2. From autumn 2010, skills accounts will be rolled out, supported by information, advice and guidance through the new adult advancement and careers service. Skills accounts will give people more choice of training courses, trebling the number of providers where entitlements to Government funding support can be used, and making publicly available consistent data on quality, job prospects and course wage potential, as set out in Skills for Growth: A National Skills Strategy.

Both reports can be viewed at www.lsc.gov.uk.

3. For media enquiries, call Joanna Fletcher in BIS press Office on 020 7215 5951.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

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