engage magazine issue 001 spring \'06 - Page 49

TRAINING 49 Interview suspects Big providers have been able to grow in the main because they have been given large government contracts, you get this cycle where the funding bodies will only fund you if you demonstrate that you have a track record of delivering funded training. But you don’t get a track record if you’re always delivering on behalf of somebody else. What happens now is that we do the delivery well and the big training provider claims all the credit (and the future funding). Q A Where do you think the key problem lies? Q Are there any ways in which you and government funding bodies can attempt to deal with this issue? Q What effect does this have on you and other Black, Asian and minority ethnic training providers? I think that one solution is to look beyond the usual suspects (those in the training industry know who they are) and have a diverse supply chain. They can only do that by working positively with smaller organisations. It ought to be possible to allow groups of small training providers to band together and bid for the funding. A One of the end results is that the situation disadvantages Black, Asian and minority ethnic businesses because we’re more likely to be SMEs. If One Spare Chair, with its quality systems, track record and reputation for excellence cannot win government contracts, I wonder what it is like for others who are trying to grow. A With more funding we could employ people from the local area; that’s what frustrates me the most, because there is real potential out there. Q A Q What benefits would more funding give you? What do you think will be the future relationship between small training providers and government funding bodies? ...the situation disadvantages Black, Asian and minority ethnic businesses because we’re more likely to be SMEs. It does make me wonder because the assumption is that if you’re small it must mean that you won’t last. In fact it means that you’re flexible, you’re responsive, and that you can offer people a very individual programme of learning. So, in my view, small does not necessarily mean not good enough, and hopefully the future relationship will be one where this is recognised and acknowledged. A SPRING ISSUE 2006 engage