South West Regional Skills Enterprise and Employment Analysis 2007/2008
4.13 Participation and provision
4.13.10 LSC provision - level and subject areas of learning
The dominant vocational subject sectors were: Health, Public Services and Care, Information and Communication Technology, Preparation for Life and Work (together, these represent approximately half of all enrolments); Health, Public Services and Care which is significantly larger in the South West than it is on average nationally.
Most worrying is that enrolments for two of the LSC’s South West sector priorities – Engineering and Construction/Built Environment - have decreased over the three year period. These are also areas of recruitment difficulty and skill shortage and indicate that more needs to be done to raise the attractiveness of these occupations. In contrast, the other two sectors, Retail and Health, have seen growth in the number of enrolments.
Figure 17: Distribution of Level 2 and Level 3 enrolments across sector subject areas (click image to open in new window)
Adults are more likely to enrol on Level 3 courses and 16-18 year olds are more likely to enrol on Level 2 courses.
In 2002/3, the South West had a very low level of Skills for Life enrolments; only 5.5% of enrolments were in qualifications that count towards the target, compared with over 7% nationally. Over the three years, the amount of this sort of provision has increased quickly both regionally and nationally. Enrolments have increased in the South West somewhat faster than nationally and the margin from the national average has dropped 1%.
Two thirds of all enrolments in FE are from the 19+ age group. However, over the last three years, they have been reducing whilst 16-18 enrolments have been increasing. This suggests the ever-increasing role that employers will have to play in accessing learning of adults.
Engineering and Construction enrolments (two of the South West LSC’s priority sectors) have seen a decrease over the last three years. The other two priority sectors for the South West – Retail and Health and Social Care – have seen an increase in enrolments. Enrolments in health may see a reduction in view of the LSC not funding statutory requirements qualifications.
More than two-in-five enrolments for adults are at Entry level or Level 1 and a further one-in-five enrolments is for ‘other’ qualifications. For young people, just over one third of all enrolments are at Entry, Level 1 or ‘other’ qualifications.
The proportion of 16-18 year old learners engaged in full Level 2 in the South West has grown in the last three years but is still below the England average. The same is true for full Level 3.
While regional WBL performance overall is better than average, South West males on Advanced Apprenticeships have below average success rates (four percentage points below the national rate). While several Sector Subject Areas show above average WBL success rates, WBL success rates in Engineering and Manufacturing, Construction and ICT are below average.
While recognising that provider mix and learner characteristics could influence regional FE under-performance, regional FE success rates are below average for 16-18 year olds and those on long courses. South West FE success rates are below average in ICT and in Retail and Commercial Enterprise. South West FE success rates are also below average for Black and Minority Ethnic groups and learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
South West FE learners are at least as satisfied with their provision as in England but they are a little less likely to expect to participate in further learning in the next three years. Employers are relatively more critical of FE responsiveness in the South West compared to England. Nationally and regionally, employers are most critical of FE provision for construction, building services engineering, and motor vehicle repair and maintenance.
Skills for Life provision
A significant element in the LSC’s total budget is directed to the development of adult basic skills (Numeracy, Literacy and ESOL) through the Skills for Life Strategy(69) and contributory programmes.
The Skills for Life target for the South West is to support 150,000 adults to improve their Skills for Life by 2007, and 215,000 by 2010. The region is currently 89% of the way towards meeting its 2007 target.
If one sets the Skills for Life targets in the context of overall Skills for Life needs, it becomes clear that the achievement of the targets is only the tip of the iceberg.
Figure 18: Annual Achievements in Skills for Life, South West and England (click image to open in new window)
Changes announced in the recent national LSC Planning document will remove automatic fee remission from ESOL from August 2007. This is intended to focus resources on LSC priority groups (eg unemployed), and to ensure that where employers are recruiting in large numbers from overseas, they take account of English language skills at recruitment stage and make a contribution to the cost of learning if they choose to address skills needs in England.
There is evidence of lower participation in sparsely populated areas than in urban areas but other factors are also important, including employment patterns, economic activity rates and relative deprivation levels(70).
The LSC Analysis argues that while there is no compelling case for a
general uplift to funding for learners from sparsely populated areas,
there is a case for targeted interventions to preserve first steps provision
in sparsely populated areas and to raise participation by young people
and adults in areas where sparsity is combined with relative deprivation.
(69) Department for Education & Skills, Skills for Life Strategy,
|Produced by SLIM||Back||Next||April 2007|