Employers who arrange for their staff to undertake training to improve their skills should be assured they are getting value for money with high quality courses from respected providers, according to a new report launched today by the Association of Colleges (AoC).
In its report, “Breaking the Mould: Establishing a Technical Education Accreditation Council”, AoC calls for clarity about the quality of the training courses made available to employers and employees.
John Widdowson, President of the Association of Colleges, said: “If we are to bring transparency to a very complex system of education and training, there should be a way to accredit courses and training programmes so that it is clear they are of a high standard.
“Good-quality technical and professional education is needed if the UK is to tackle the skills shortage in areas such as engineering and manufacturing. The Government is focusing on apprenticeships, but there must also be options for people who are already in work to boost their skills.”
The membership organisation argues for the formation of a council which has the power to accredit courses and training programmes. The council, which should be formed of organisations from across the education and skills sector, would be able to set standards for work-related education and training to ensure that quality is maintained. It should also uphold a register of quality assured providers and available courses.
“We know that employers want a workforce which is well trained and productive, and in order to get it they need to be prepared to put their money up front. In return, it is only right that their staff receive the best training available from a provider which has been scrutinised to ensure they meet a high standard.
“An accreditation council would support the development of training and courses, which colleges can provide through industry-standard facilities and expert teachers, creating the right sort of technical and professional education and training to help rebuild the economy,” added Widdowson.
The accreditation council would work in much the same way as a university’s awarding powers, which regulate academic qualifications such as degrees and some professional qualifications. Accreditation of courses and qualifications would give employers the confidence that sending their employees for training to boost their skills will be money well spent.