Government to remove funding from balloon artistry and other low-value courses


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The Independent Online

The Government has announced a "bold new reform plan" to streamline the adult skills system by removing funding from vocational courses such as "laundry operations", "pole fitness instructing" and "balloon artistry".

The "radical" changes aim to reduce the number of taxpayer-funded qualifications by more than 5,000, freeing up nearly £200 million to be redirected to more relevant, high-quality courses.

Launching the reform, the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation said that it was determined to "give learners a clear route either to employment or further training".

Under the new rules, qualifications will have to meet "size, purpose and employer recognition" criteria to receive funding from the government while those that already exist will have to show a "proven track record".

Courses that do not meet the updated criteria include an award in the principles of selling at exhibitions and trade fairs; training in time and territory management for sales people; and a course in electric vehicle awareness.

Other qualifications will no longer be available because of low demand. These include a certificate in the structure of the horseracing industry; a coaching table tennis course; and an award in "explosives storage for the extractive and minerals processing industries".

Matthew Hancock, the skills and enterprise minister, said: "Small qualifications in coaching angling, aerial balloon displays and self-tanning are not a good use of taxpayers’ money or learners’ time.

We are determined to make sure that people who work hard to achieve a qualification can be sure that it is recognised as meaningful and valuable to employers and that it makes a real contribution to our long term economic plan for Britain."

Other cancelled courses include:

  • Trowel occupations
  • The safe use of pedestrian-controlled mowers
  • Working in the debt collection industry
  • Accessing a tree using a rope and harness
  • Achieving excellence in a vocational skill
  • Work preparation for land-based industries
  • Changing men's hair colour
  • Aviation operations on the ground
  • Text processing
  • Arc welding
  • Volunteering at an event
  • Asphalt production
  • Signmaking technology
  • Tyre fitting principles