On Thursday the 26th of March, the British Security Industry Association’s Skills for Security called on the government to guarantee funding for independent training providers to help them mitigate damage caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
This action is in response to the Department of Education’s guidance released on Monday which stipulates that their policy “does not allow payment for services in advance of delivery”. This means that funding for training and apprenticeships cannot be made until the training has been delivered.
It is argued by Skills for Security that this represents a complete 180 for the Department of Education after they previously guaranteed support for the provision of further education. The guidance would exclude any independent training providers involved with adult education and apprenticeships. Colleges, however, would still be guaranteed funding.
With the situation in the country where it is, there is a high risk of these types of independent training providers going bankrupt. Even prior to the lockdown, there was a marked drop in attendance which will no doubt continue sometime after it has been lifted.
Skills for Security went on to outline 3 key propositions that they believe the government should take into consideration:
- All independent training provider contracts should be paid on profile whatever the current performance and levy apprenticeships paid based on the prior six months delivery.
- If funding is maintained, providers will commit to not furlough staff relating to delivery thus saving the Treasury a significant amount of money.
- Guarantee the next month’s funding to allow time to sort through the details and how the model might work.
“We are incredibly concerned that this omission of financial support will have a dramatic effect on our business as a leading provider of fire and security apprenticeships in our sector. Although we have had a 90% remote access participation for this week’s training, the following week at present is less than 50% and, based on the Government’s statement this will have a serious effect on our finances.
“If providers cease trading or furlough substantial numbers of staff then apprentices, learners and employers who want to continue training will lose their provider and many of these learners will be left with no support. If we are unable to guarantee funding there is every chance the industry will lose capacity and increase levels of unemployed and a low possibility of upskilling those in the workplace,” said Skills for Security, Managing Director, David Scott.