What are two of the United Kingdom's governmental policies regarding lifelong learning, and what are their strengths or weaknesses?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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One lifelong learning policy that exists in the United Kingdom is the Train to Gain program first created and funded by the UK government in September 2006. Its purpose is to offer vocational training to UK employees who do not already have the qualifications needed from the Skills Funding Agency. Its ultimate aim is to get employees to the level of skills needed that were identified by the Leitch Review of Skills. In 2004, Chairman of the National Employment Panel, Lord Sandy Leitch was commissioned by the government to identify the skills needed for maximum economic growth, productivity, and social justice by 2020. His assessments identified that, to reach the maximum goals by 2020, they needed an increase from 85% of adults skilled in literacy to 95% of adults; from 79% skilled in numeracy to 95%; from 69& of adults having reached Level 2 in their education to 90%; an increase in 1.9 million adults reaching Level 3 in their education, and 500,000 attaining apprenticeships; and an increase from 29% of adults holding college-level degrees to 40% ("Leitch Review"). The Train to Gain program was designed to help match businesses with further education and training providers in order to increase the number of skilled employees who can work for the businesses ("Train to Gain"). The program also offers needed grants and funding for any training costs. The program's benefit is that it is a great way for employers to invest in training opportunities, plus it provides flexible training opportunities.

One policy Scotland, as a part of the UK, created is the Lifelong Learning policy. Under this policy, other policies were created to bridge the learning opportunity gap between the impoverished and the middle class, bridge the skills gap to ensure that more of the unemployed have the skills needed to become employed, and bridge the productivity gap that exists between Scotland's economy and other world economies. The policy essentially focuses on providing training and learning opportunities for individuals who have already stopped their formal education by providing "work-based vocational learning" ("Life Through Learning"). It also aims to keep as many students in school and college as possible through financing. Under the blanket policy, one of the policies that was created was the Individual Learning Accounts (ILA) policy, a policy that actually fell through by October 2001. The policy particularly aimed at training federal employees and provided something similar to a bank account in which money could be deposited to facilitate training and development. Money was deposited to the accounts both by the ILA agency and by the students. Initiators of the program hoped that encouraging students to deposit their own money would encourage them to "invest (financially) in their own future"; however, the program was actually shut down due to fraud ("Individual Learning Accounts"; "Individual Learning Account"). By October 2001, the agency had established 8,500 accredited providers to accounts, but 279 of these providers were accused of "misselling," leading to 30 arrests. After investigations, it was learned that the plan had led to 290 million in costs with 97 million of that being attributed to fraud ("Individual Learning Account"). While the policy seemed like a good plan, the fraud and other problems that ensued show that it was more poorly thought out than other lifelong learning policies.

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