Archive for the ‘THE GRAPEVINE! news, comment & a bit of gossip’ Category

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SFA rewards over performance (Discretionary Learner Support reallocation)

Those providers in receipt of a Discretionary Learner Support (dLS) Allocation for the academic year 2010/11 submitted a final year- end return in November 2011.

These returns have now been reconciled and the SFA will now recycle funds from under performing to providers who have over delivered against their overall dLS 2010/11 allocation.

Providers will be notified through their February 2012 remittance advice note of their final year-end position. A £1,000 minimum has been applied to any under and/or over delivery.
If you have any queries, contact your Relationship Team.

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Minimum 12 duration for Apprenticeships

From August 2012 the minimum duration of 12 months for Apprenticeships for those aged 16-18 will beign. This will be a requirement in the 2012/13 Funding Rules which are expected to be published by the end of March 2012. The new rules will apply to all new starts from 1 August 2012 onwards and not to those already in learing prior to August.

The SFA is however encouraging all training organisations and employers to offer all existing apprentices (16-18) a 12 month minimum programme.

See the full SFA Statement here

The National Apprenticeship Service is currently reviewing the position with regard to a minimum duration time for those apprentices aged 19 and over.

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We need a Plan B: Richard Johnson on the Work Programme

We also need a plan B. Anyone not finding a job after two years should attend a further year of assistance on a new “Work Programme plus”. It should be delivered through local specialist organisations, providing intensive support, up to 12 months’ work experience and investment in business start-up and growth.

The contracts for the government’s Work Programme were competed for on price

Contractors should be paid according to outcomes, but with contracts awarded on the basis of quality, not price. Much higher payments would reflect the high levels of need, as well as the much greater savings to the state achieved by helping this group.

And a number of charities may go to the wall, such as Leap – in Harlesden, north London – which provides specialist, intensive, local support that has rescued thousands of young people from the streets in the last decade.

Read more in last weeks Guardian

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Barnado’s report on impact on disadvantaged 16 to 19-year-olds

Staying the Course takes a close, initial look at the new 16-19 Bursary Fund for England and its impact on disadvantaged 16 to 19-year-olds in education and training.

Staying the Course provides an insight into the backgrounds of young people who depend on financial support to continue in education or training.



In 2011 funding for 16-19 financial support was cut from £560 million per year to £180 million. The report found lower levels of money and a lack of access to the fund are both key factors which are forcing many young people to consider dropping out of education and training due to financial hardship. Based on the research in this report Barnardo’s recommends that the system is better funded, better targeted and better administered to ensure that the Government’s aspirations for social mobility through education can benefit 16 to 19-year-olds as well as disadvantaged school children.

Download the report here

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Welfare reform will deepen poverty in Northern Ireland


The BBC is reproting that the SDLP have told the government that they must show “flexibility and discretion” when it comes to changing the benefits system in Northern Ireland.

The comments came after the party met with Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud and Secretary of State Owen Paterson.

The SDLP’s three MPs and Stormont Minister Alex Attwood attended the discussions in London.

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie said government proposals would “simply deepen poverty ” in Northern Ireland.


The BBC...

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Help the Unemployed become self employed…. Enterprise clubs

More needs to be done to encourage and help unemployed people to see self-employment as a viable route off benefits and into financial independence.

On 31 January 2011, the Minister for Employment announced the launch of Enterprise Clubs which is targeted at unemployed people interested in self-employment

The main aim of Enterprise Clubs is to help people make the most of local knowledge and resources to help unemployed people in their communities set themselves up as self-employed or start their own business.

They will empower local communities and encourage people to work together to offer additional support to unemployed people who are interested in becoming self-employed. They will also help local communities to become more prosperous by encouraging private sector growth.

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