Members have expressed disappointment at the small EF volumes available in the September submission window. Only two of the 32 LEPs have volumes available due to handbacks at this stage, with the next update from SDS not due until 1 November.
Many members have had to significantly reduce their running costs over the last six months in response to the 40% cut in the number of EF places available this year. A large number had hoped to request additional places at this stage to improve their financial stability. With operating costs cut to the bone – and the prospect of having to wait another two months to hear if places become available – there is real concern that some businesses may be forced into administration. Some members have described their current situation as ‘precarious’ and ‘very worrying’.
STF has continued to raise the problems resulting from the EF cuts with Scottish Government, most recently in a meeting with Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Employability and Training.
One of the main justifications made at the time the cuts were announced was that youth unemployment rates had reduced significantly and this had resulted in lower demand for EF places. This was disputed by STF at the time and recent feedback suggests that providers have already used up most of their allocated places, despite being only halfway through the year.
STF is conducting a survey of its members to gather data on the percentage of places already used at this stage in the contracting year to help establish a true picture of the demand which exists. All information supplied is strictly private and confidential. All STF members with a current EF contract are encouraged to complete this survey: Take the Survey.