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Online technology central to unlocking future SFA funding


Speaking recently at the Institute for Directors, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock made a couple of announcements which were frankly quite astounding.

Firstly he announced that from next September ‘all courses will need to have an online component in order to attract Skills Funding Agency (SFA) cash’. Secondly, he confirmed that he intends to identify and work with a number of ‘online-only trailblazers’ to road test the funding and audit implications of online delivery. Finally, he also stated that the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) will introduce a dedicated online-only funding rate – yes it’s very own funding stream!

Wow and I really mean wow!

If anyone still doubted the governments commitment to online delivery of qualifications, this speech surely puts online technology centre-stage for the foreseeable future. It’s quite possible that these announcements will prove to be the tipping point for online providers with employers, colleges and training providers no longer able to ignore the significant benefits derived from integrating online technologies into their learning and development strategies.

As many of our clients will appreciate, Care Academy successfully launched our innovative QCF qualification technology during 2013 and at the same time we secured contracts to deliver SFA funded qualifications. So in many ways we are already ahead of the curve, placing us very much at the forefront of change and means we are well placed to advise clients on the best way forward.

One thing that has become strikingly obvious to us over the past year, is the ‘resistance to change’ which seems to be embedded within the very DNA of the whole ‘funded training’ marketplace. It’s not the people causing the problems, but the processes ie. wet signatures in triplicate, a need to see the ‘whites of the eyes’ of learners, hard copies of documents via snail-mail – the list goes on and on whilst the potential for administrative mistakes, resulting in delays, inefficiencies and increased cost is all too common. It’s the ‘contracts and contact’ mentality which these announcements hope to change.

Fortunately for Care Academy, we are lucky enough to work with commercial partners who recognise the potential for our technologies to deliver quality training and qualifications – so hats off to Skillsfirst Awards, Bournville College and Calderdale College for being early adopters and having faith in Care Academy. We’ve already delivered significant value to our clients and their learners and we hope to continue to expand our offering as these announcements become reality.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss how Care Academy can help you deliver training and qualifications including how to access a variety of funding streams.

You can view the full transcript of the speech here: Matthew Hancock Speech