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Individual Training Accounts launched

Published: 30 Mar 2017 10:00

Scheme to boost access to qualifications for job seekers and low paid workers.

A new scheme will make it easier for job seekers and low paid workers to gain access to qualifications and skills training.

The Scottish Government is making changes to the current system of Individual Learning Accounts – by refocusing them as Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) – to better meet the demands of the job market.

The changes take forward a commitment in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2016-17, following a consultation on the UK Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, to align support to help people into employment with the needs of employers.

ITAs will be provided by Skills Development Scotland and will continue to give people access to up to £200 per year for training and skills development. However, for the first time each course will now result in an industry recognised qualification.

By providing workers with opportunities to improve their work-related skills and qualifications, ITAs support employers to develop their workforce and address skills gaps.

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said:

“We have been working with Skills Development Scotland and the Student Awards Agency Scotland to review Individual Learning Accounts to ensure they are more closely suited to the needs of people, and our evolving labour market.

“We want to improve the quality of courses on offer, whilst ensuring a continuity of service for account holders. The changes will mean that every Individual Training Account funds a recognised qualification, boosting the employability of those looking for work and helping people progress out of low paid jobs.

“We are evolving the ILA offering as a direct response to the views of employers following our recent consultation on the UK Government’s Apprenticeship levy. These developments will enhance flexibility and help deliver a package of employment and training measures to support a resilient and inclusive labour market.”

Background

Eligible learners can apply for ITA funding from October this year. Learners with an existing ILA account can still use valid learner tokens as long as they apply for a course before 30 June and the course starts before 30 September.

SAAS will continue to process ILA applications and fulfil provider payments during this period.

ILAs were previously delivered in partnership by SAAS and SDS.  The introduction of a new payment system will allow the entire ITA process, including the processing of applications and provider payments, to be managed by Skills Development Scotland.