The loan will provide access to funds for higher education to those that are ineligible for Skills Funding Agency funding. Similar to University loans, repayment will begin after the learner earns over £21,000 a year and is fixed at 9% of earnings. After 30 years any remaining debt is written off.
Learners will be able to apply from early April 2013 for courses starting on or after 1 August 2013. The types of courses that can be accessed using this loan include level 3 leisure management, level 4 Management and University Access courses. For a more comprehensive list please follow this link.
The new loan has been developed as a response to the Spending Review 2010. Due to budget restrictions, the overall Further Education and Skills budget will be reduced by 25% between 2011-12 and 2014-15. Therefore the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan will provide individuals in this age group with a great opportunity to continue to learn and develop their skills.
SkillsActive Wales has agreed a mutual programme of work with Sport Wales which will enable the delivery of an extensive programme over the coming year. SkillsActive Wales is also happy to have secured funding from the Welsh Government Sector Priorities Fund Pilot (SPFP) to develop innovative learning and teaching materials for the level 3 Playwork Principles into Practice (P3) qualification.
The investment from Sport Wales will have a positive impact on the delivery of the SkillsActive Wales Business Plan 2012-13 and will ensure the full involvement of Welsh employers across the Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being sector.
The Sport Wales funding will go towards a number of initiatives which SkillsActive Wales has already begun to implement. These include:
• The production of an Annual State of the Industry Report for Wales, exploring sector specific gaps and shortages
• The development of a Single Qualification Framework, produced and agreed with key stakeholders in Wales
• An increase in REPs Wales members from 1000 to 1100, plus a 10% increase in the number of Welsh employers registering with REPs and a 5% increase in the number of instructors holding a level 3 qualification
• Promoting the importance of Active Passports across the sector.
In relation to the Sport Wales investment, SkillsActive Manager Richard Tobutt commented:
"SkillsActive Wales has maintained a healthy working relationship with Sport Wales for around 10 years. The activities agreed as part of this programme will positively impact on both the Sport Wales Vision for Sport, and particularly the 'skilled and passionate workforce strand', and the strategic context outlined in the Welsh Government 'Creating an Active Wales' document."
The Welsh Government Sector Priorities Fund Pilot also secured by SkillsActive Wales will massively assist playwork training delivery across Wales, by ensuring that the workforce is adequately skilled, trained and possesses the correct resources.
The project aims to develop and finalise bilingual learning and teaching materials for the recently developed Level 3 qualification entitled 'Playwork Principles into Practice' (P3).
The funding will allow SkillsActive Wales to lead the development of a full suite of resources for the Award, Certificate and Diploma which will promote high quality learning. Trainers currently delivering level 2 Playwork qualifications will also be upskilled, allowing them to progress the wide scale delivery of level 3 across Wales.
Concerning playwork funding, SkillsActive Technical Manager, Home Countries, Debbie Willets comments:
"The Children and Families (Wales) Measure places a duty on each local authority to provide sufficient play opportunities for children and young people and will increase the demand for qualifications within the playwork sector. Therefore, this project will have a positive impact on this strategic development and will go some of the way to address the skills shortages that exist across Wales."
Playwork qualification delivery is in its infancy in Wales, therefore the production of these resources will have a positive impact on the development of the playwork infrastructure. Ultimately, learners will benefit from these developments and will be able to further develop their playwork skills.
The investments will bring a whole range of benefits to the sport, fitness and playwork sectors in Wales, benefitting both the workforce and the general public.
His recommendations include a suggestion that apprenticeships should be redefined, due to what he describes as a weakening of their "brand", also the serial investor stresses that there should be a renewed focus on the outcome of apprenticeships. The Review also calls for greater diversity and innovation in training – with employers and government safeguarding quality.
Upon reading the Review SkillsActive CEO Ian Taylor comments:
"Doug Richard has made some sound observations and we can all learn from the conclusions he has reached. SkillsActive continues to work closely with employers to ensure apprenticeships across our sector deliver the knowledge and skills their business needs. As a Sector Skills Council we also have great links with a range of training providers. We see apprenticeships as an excellent means to train and recruit employees, they enable individuals to gain hands-on experience, whilst also earning money."
Ian Taylor also comments on the report's suggestion that Government funding must create the right incentives for apprenticeship training.
"SkillsActive has a great relationship with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). As a recipient of government funding we truly understand the value of these cash injections in getting Apprenticeship schemes off the ground."
"Doug Richard stresses that we need to look forward when viewing apprenticeships, this is absolutely correct. I firmly believe that we need to be creative and innovative when training our future workforce. Apprenticeships are of course not perfect but by listening to employers and working alongside Government we can continue to improve them, and our nation's workforce".
In terms of moving forward, DC Leisure an employer which SkillsActive works closely with comments:
"DC leisure has been employing apprentices and using apprenticeships successfully to provide career opportunities for our staff, however we would welcome greater flexibility in the training packages offered. For example, the inclusion of industry recognised qualifications in the frameworks for which we have SkillsActive's support however the government legislation does not allow currently".
George Hammer, Chairman of Urban Retreat at Harrods on the future of Apprenticeships, also comments:
"As a prospective Apprenticeship provider, I have found Habia's (sub-brand of SkillsActive) support invaluable in trying to understand what is at times an extremely complex and frustrating process.
I believe passionately in ensuring that the next generation have access to the highest quality training available and that they have the full support of employers in achieving this. They are after all the future of my business, and indeed of all of our businesses. But the process is at time needlessly bureaucratic, and I know of many excellent employers who have found that their good intentions became wrapped up in a never-ending stream of red-tape that ultimately dissuaded them from continuing".
Ian Taylor concludes:
"All in all we look forward to taking onboard the findings of the Richard Review and we will continue to work alongside our employers and Government in ensuring that apprenticeships are fit for purpose and address the skills needs of our future workforce".
The new Dragon Multi-Skills and Sport blueprint, for children at key stages 1 and 2 (primary school ages 5-11), will be used in schools, sports clubs and community settings such as leisure centres.
A similar scheme is already run in Canada, New Zealand and Australia where practitioners have found a good grounding in basic agility, balance and co-ordination skills leads to greater competency, and enjoyment, across all sports.
Chair of Sport Wales, Laura McAllister, said: "We want more children playing sport to a higher standard and more children having the skills to take part in sport and physical activity through their lives.
"It's important that children have the right skills as young as possible because it sets them on the path for better sporting experiences.
"At the moment we have pockets of excellent practice in developing the skills of children but we want to make that consistent across the board."
SkillsActive Wales has secured about £235,000 of Government funding from the Sector Priority Fund Pilot to develop qualifications at Award, Certificate and Diploma levels for Playwork Principles into Practice. Play Wales and the SQA have been appointed to lead the delivery of the project.
SkillsActive Wales manager Richard Tobutt says: “The Playwork sector is already facing a significant skills shortage in Wales. This will be compounded by laws introduced in 2012 requiring each local authority to provide sufficient play opportunities for children and young people.
“We are really pleased that our bid for this funding has been successful and that playworkers will now have the opportunity to access these higher level qualifications.”
The new qualifications will be placed on the QCF at Level 3 and are intended for playworkers and childcare staff wanting to progress from the existing suite of P3 qualifications at Level 2.
SkillsActive in Scotland and its partners are making good progress delivering the workforce for the 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy, according to the Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport.
SkillsActive in Scotland established the Active Scotland Workforce Development Group in 2009 to ensure Scotland had the right workforce to deliver the Commonwealth Games Legacy of a more active Scotland. It consists of a range of sport and physical activity employers, government agencies and training providers.
SkillsActive in Scotland manager Pam Scott says the group recently submitted a Status Report on the progress that the Group was making to Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport and received a very positive response.
• welcomed the progress made in identifying the skills gaps and shortages within the physical activity and sports workforce both paid and voluntary.
• noted sport has an immediate attractiveness for most young people but it is important that we employ the right people with the right skills which will have an impact on their career and more importantly keep them physically active.
• acknowledged that the Development Model works towards meeting the challenges of skilling the workforce and ensuring the appropriate and realistic qualifications are in place to ensure priority areas such as volunteering and coaching are fit for purpose.
Ms Robison then added that it was “important people working in sport and physical activity have a greater knowledge and understanding of health issues relating to specific client groups and is encouraged by the co-operation of employers and training providers in taking this forward”
Pam says Ms Robison set out several next steps for the group, which they will consider at their next meeting on December 9.
SkillsActive works with training providers to deliver a wide range of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to help staff and volunteers maintain their professional knowledge and skills and prepare them for greater responsibility.
Make sure you access quality training for you, your staff or your volunteers by choosing from SkillsActive’s list of approved training providers.
SkillsActive's range of e-learning courses offer a convenient way to develop skills anywhere, at any time.
Apprenticeships are available in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. However, each country has a slightly different approach.
Select a country below to learn more about the frameworks available in your area.
SkillsActive works on behalf of the active leisure, learning and well-being sector to develop a framework of qualifications, training and continuous professional that meet employer needs, ensuring the workforce is properly trained and qualified.
Through our National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure, we deliver those qualifications, ensuring the training is quality assured, cost effective and relevant to employers’ needs.
Building on the 2007 skills strategy, it takes into account the changed economic climate and the new challenges facing businesses looking to support sustainable employment.
Launching the Strategy during a visit to Gems Engineering Ltd in Glasgow, one of the first employers to take advantage of the Flexible 5,000 programme, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, Keith Brown MSP, said: "Our original Skills for Scotland Strategy was published three years ago when economic conditions were very different from those currently faced by individuals and employers across the country.
"This refreshed Strategy makes clear the Scottish Government's commitment to training and skills. It sets out a flexible, responsive, partnership approach to meeting Scotland's skills needs at a crucial point in our economic recovery.
"Skills are vital to employers of all sizes across all sectors of the economy and it is crucial that we have a strategy equipped to deal with the challenges and opportunities arising from the competitive environment we find ourselves in.
"This Strategy does just that by targeting support that meets the varying needs of both individuals and employers and the sectors of the future, including those in the low carbon economy."
The strategy reinforces national targets for Skills Development Scotland (SDS) which is already delivering more than 40,000 training opportunities this financial year, including up to 20,000 Modern Apprenticeships, 14,500 training places to support the unemployed and 5,000 places through the Flexible Training Opportunities programme. In addition more than 40,000 people are expected to benefit from Individual Learning Accounts this year.
It also builds on work already underway to support young people, including the 'Step Forward Scotland' programme, a package of measures launched in June to support young people leaving schools and college this summer.
Jacqui Hepburn, director of the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils in Scotland, said: "This refreshed strategy makes a crucial contribution to the ongoing process of simplifying the skills system, making it easier for employers and employees to navigate.
"As the voice of employers in that system, the Alliance Scotland particularly welcomes the strong emphasis on making the supply of skills more responsive to employers' needs. A highly flexible and responsive skills system is one of the bedrocks of sustainable recovery for the Scottish economy. As this document sets out, a sustained focus on streamlining the skills system and better matching the aspirations of individuals with the evolving skills requirements of employers will significantly smooth the path towards recovery."
Source: Alliance of Sector Skills Councils in Scotland