One of A4e's income streams is from Train to Gain. The Yorkshire Post reports "Dismay as taxpayers save firms £175m on training" That £175m is just in Yorkshire and the Humber. "Already £200m has been cut from this year's budget – which has been slashed to £757m – and diverted into apprenticeships and building projects at colleges. Business Minister John Hayes told MPs recently: 'The problem with Train to Gain is its deadweight cost – a fact that the last administration were unwilling to face up to. The evaluations of Train to Gain suggest that it is used to support all kinds of training that employers would have funded anyway and to accredit skills that already exist.'" So that particular stream is drying up.
We've reported before that A4e advertised for volunteers to mentor their clients. Another advert again seeks people to do a minimum of 3 hours a week for a minimum of 6 months in the London area, to "provide support, information and guidance, helping their mentees to gain confidence and overcome the barriers they face in gaining sustainable employment". I have no idea whether the other providers do this. It seems on the surface a good thing. The mentors can provide one-to-one help whilst themselves receiving training. But if the mentor is successful and the mentee (yes, it is a word) gets a job, the money goes to A4e, and that doesn't seem quite right.
We should always celebrate success, and I'm happy for Peter Whitwell who, according the MyA4e community site, has started his own business with the help of A4e Middlesborough. But "to acquire funding, A4e liaised with the local council (who provide funding through their Local Enterprise Growth Initiative) who agreed to provide Peter funds to purchase tools, and equipment, and cover advertising costs." So while A4e certainly played a role, it was the local council which provided the money. This source of funding is disappearing as councils lose money and the Work Programme replaces all such initiatives, and that is everyone's loss.