Providers in dark about job status of learners

More than half of providers are failing to meet targets for collecting data about the employment status of their learners, figures released by the government have revealed.

The figures in the latest Individualised Learner Record (ILR) have revealed that 50.3 per cent of providers (481) missed an Information Authority (IA) target of 0.6 per cent for the number of learners for which they do not hold employment status information upon enrolment.

The sector as a whole, against the 0.6 per cent target, in fact had 8.2 per cent as “unknown” or “not provided”.

The target was for the halfway mark of the current academic year, but the result could mean that the employment status of tens of thousands of learners is not clear.

However, Steve Hewitt, strategic funding, enrolments and examinations manager at Morley College, said there was no consequence for failing to hit the target.

“The reason some [providers] are missing that target is there’s nothing that happens to us if we don’t provide that information,” he said.

“While they would like 0.6 per cent, the fact is, it’s 8.2 per cent which still isn’t bad for 1m learners.

“For the 50 per cent who are above that target there is no actual comeback.”

Despite the lack of information on learners upon course starts, the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) will, from next year, still be expecting providers to keep track of learners after they have completed courses by providing learner outcome and destination data.

Mr Hancock told FE Week: “Of course there’s always measurement issues around data, and I think that they’re important to resolve. But in a sense they are the means to the end.

“The end is holding colleges, schools, sixth from colleges to account for what they achieve for their students.”

In 2012, FE Week revealed that 40 per cent of providers sent data about apprentices to the Information Authority with details of employment status missing.

This led to calls by the then Shadow Skills Minister Gordon Marsden for the SFA and National Apprenticeship Service to do more to encourage providers to give a full picture.The SFA declined to comment.