More funding should be allocated to the Trackers Apprenticeship Programme to build on its continuing success, according to the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel.
Set up in 2012, it was originally intended to offer training and apprenticeships to Islanders between the ages of 16 and 19 training, but has since been extended to incorporate adults either contemplating a career change or looking to gain qualifications in areas such as health care.
It is designed to provide support for motivated individuals looking to train in relevant trades and professions and is based on partnerships between the apprentices and their employers and the mentors and trainers involved in the scheme.
Currently, there are 126 students enrolled on the course – six more than originally budgeted for – with a further 94 being interviewed for next year. However, the Department of Education, Sport and Culture, which runs the Trackers scheme, now estimate there is a need to grow the programme to 350 by 2017.
The Scrutiny Panel’s report, issued last week, found that the support provided by the mentors – who manage the training needs of the apprentices and liaise with the employers and trainers – were key to the success of the scheme, which has so far achieved a 100 per cent success rate in the qualifications achieved by students completing the first year of their studies.
But it is concerned the £380,000 allocated to fund Trackers in the Medium Term Financial Plan for 2013 to 2015 will not be sufficient to meet current demand and could result in the scheme becoming a victim of its own success.
“The key to the programme meeting its expectations appears to rest in the number and quality of mentors available. Consequently, sufficient funding must be made available to ensure the excellent current standards are maintained,” said Panel chairman Constable Steve Pallett.
“It is essential that the minister claims for further funding within the next Medium Term Financial Plan and that this receives support from the States Assembly.”
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