Capita exits adult education citing ‘market conditions’

Major outsourcing firm also significantly reduces apprenticeship delivery

Major outsourcing firm also significantly reduces apprenticeship delivery

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Outsourcing giant Capita has left the adult education and skills bootcamp training markets, whilst also significantly reducing its apprenticeship delivery.

The firm told FE Week the decisions were made while considering “broader market conditions”.

It has been offering government-funded skills training for almost two decades and is currently rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Capita was awarded one of the largest procured national adult education budget contracts by the Department for Education, worth £2.8 million, in 2021. But the company was one of the big names missing from the list of national AEB contract winners from the DfE’s latest tender this year.

The company is now closing its education arm known as Vision2Learn, which also delivered government-funded skills bootcamps.

It is the latest in a string of well-known training providers that have pulled away from government-funded AEB, bootcamps and apprenticeships – mostly due to unsustainable funding rates.

Capita was one of England’s biggest apprenticeship providers in 2021/22 when it recorded over 1,500 starts. However, the firm’s apprenticeship numbers have dropped significantly since then. Latest government data for the first three-quarters of 2022/23 show just 356 starts.

Its accounts for the year to December 31, 2022, stated that investment in apprenticeships “at all levels continued to grow and is providing ongoing opportunities to build the skills required for our future business success and for serving our clients successfully in support of growth”.

But, the company has now told FE Week it will only continue to deliver the level 3 operational firefighter and level 4 commercial procurement apprenticeships going forward, which accounted for just 15 per cent of its apprenticeship starts in 2021/22.

It will stop delivering other popular apprenticeships including public service operational delivery officer, customer service specialist, and business administrator.

The two continuing apprenticeship standards, operational firefighter and commercial procurement, are on the highest funding bands out of all of Capita’s apprenticeship offer at £14,000 and £9,000 respectively.

A spokesperson for Capita said: “Following a review we have revised our model for delivering adult learning services, to better meet the needs of our customers and more closely align with our strategy.”

The company refused to say how many staff would lose their jobs as a result.

Capita oversees several schemes on behalf of the DfE, including a flexible working programme and the SATs series in schools, which ran into several problems last year.

Earlier this year the firm withdrew from delivering the government’s flagship teacher training and development programme to new schoolteachers and lost its contract to administer the Teachers’ Pension Scheme worth £233 million, after delivering it for 27 years.

FE Week’s sister title Schools Week also this week revealed that hackers are believed to have taken up to 30,000 school pupils’ names and dates in a cyber-attack on Capita’s servers.

Latest accounts show that Capita’s pre-tax profit dropped from £285.6 million to £61.4 million.

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