Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance

Who are Private Training Providers- gaining an understanding of the PTP market

SKOPE, working in partnership with the Gatsby foundation is looking to gain a thorough understanding of the Private training Provider’s (PTP) market. The English system of education and training has been undergoing marketisation reforms since the late 1980s. The development of independent training providers (ITP’s), is part of inconsistent attempts to ‘enhance the market in training provision’ (DES, 1991, p.35). There is very little research on PTPs and what is available varies in focus and consistency.

Given the different types of organizations that make up the FE and skills training landscape, it is important to differentiate between public and private organizations. For this research, we do so bases on ownership status. FE colleges are public providers, where all other providers that are not employers training their staff are considered to be independent training providers/ private training organizations.

The FE and skills training sector receives funding from three major sources: government offices, employers and individuals. The main portion of this funding is some the public budget, particularly what goes to the private providers. There are 1525 FE and skills training providers in England that receive public funding. These vast sums of money are in fact, directed towards the private training organizations with very little sense of who they are, what they actually provide and how they do this. This research project seeks to gain an understanding og the private training sector through the following research questions:

  1. Who are private training providers and what are their unique capacities?
  2. What training do they provide and how do they do this?
  3. Given the sums of public money, does the use of PTP’s represent value for money?