Education and Skills Funding Agency
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Innovation Code

The Innovation Code, launched in April 2012 is working hard to ensure skills funding can benefit learners and those communities that need it most.

“I like to think of it as a ‘rapid response vehicle’ ” says Kim Thorneywork, Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency, “helping colleges and training organisations to respond to local needs. It’s a further flexibility we can give within an adult skills budget, providing yet another way in which the sector can make use of existing freedoms to do what's right for each local community and in particular to do more to help unemployed people back to work. I’m delighted that we’re starting to see colleges and training organisations using the Code to benefit learners and employers”. 

Currently almost 140,000 employers use the further education system each year and by using the flexibility of the code the aim is that many more will get the right skills solution for them.

“Importantly, we’ve listened to feedback from the sector,” says Kim, “and in response we’ve published
revised guidance, in partnership with the Association of Colleges and the Association of Employers and Learning Providers.

“Our goal is really to make sure that providers have as much scope as possible to deliver the mix of learning and skills training that is the right fit for their local area”.
 
So, what can the Innovation Code do that is different to other provision funded by the Adult Skills Budget? 

Kim Thorneywork comments: “We know that if we are to put the further education system in the hands of the sector, and let them to use their professional judgement to give learners and employers what they want, there won’t always be a package of learning or skills training that an individual might need. So we need to do all we can to support the offer, so that further education is accountable to local people. And we must do more to support those out of work to gain the skills to compete in long- term sustainable employment.

“And this is where the Innovation Code comes into its own.  It allows a college or training organisation to deliver the provision that is needed in their area, without having to wait for a new qualification to be developed – a true ‘rapid response vehicle’. 'local needs’, is about making sure that individuals receive training that is likely to lead to employment; such as an Apprenticeship , or progression within their current place of employment. Colleges and training organisations engage every day with local businesses, communities, partners and other stakeholders to make sure they understand the local economic and jobs picture”.

Note: For further information, please see the Innovation Code page of our website and new frequently asked questions.

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