One of those "Top 50" tables appeared the other day on the Training Journal website. A4e has made it into their top 50 training businesses. Their definition of "training" is quite elastic. 21 of their 50 companies are in the "employment training" sector. But it's fiscal success which is the criterion, not how successful they are at training.
And that raises the question of what actual training is available through A4e's w2w operation. Leave aside such little courses as Basic Food Hygiene and Health and Safety, and also basic literacy and numeracy. What actual skills training is being provided? I'm not saying there's none. I just haven't heard of any. The "tailored support" supposedly available in that black box doesn't seem to include the up-skilling that the long-term unemployed really need. Some qualifications are essential before you can get particular jobs; the CSCS card in construction, for instance, or the SIA licence for the security industry. But people say that the providers (not just A4e) won't pay for this. Former professionals require refresher courses which they can't afford themselves, but these are not forthcoming. Someone genuinely wanting to become self-employed or freelance can't get the advice and training he needs.
Is this unfair?