An assessment of the contribution which private training providers currently make to vocational education and training provision in Scotland
The introduction to this thesis outlines the concerns which led to the development of the National Education and Training Targets and the degrees of success which different sectors in Scotland are experiencing in meeting these Targets. It documents the rise in the number of private training providers, the controversy which has surrounded them and the market niches which they dominate. The aim of the research is then described as an assessment of whether the resource which the private training providers represent could be better utilised to increase training capacity within Scotland and thereby contribute towards achieving the Targets related to level III SVQs which are proving particularly elusive. In Chapter 2 the research methodology to be used is discussed, followed in Chapter 3 by the results of the literature review which confirms the lack of any research on private training providers. The field research is documented in Chapters 4, 5 and 6, describing and analysing in chronological order the data gathered through the use of a postal survey followed by interviews with selected private training providers and national and regional agencies. Additional information gathered from a workshop on the research topic is included within these chapters, as appropriate. Chapter 7 draws together the conclusions from the literature review and the field research focussing in particular on what they tell us about the market for private training providers, their status, method of operation and the quality of their services. Recommendations follow in Chapter 8 which, whilst acknowledging the valuable contribution made by a proportion of the private training providers, propose that the continuing expansion of the sector should be halted until some rationalisation of it has been undertaken and support given to those providers considered to have the potential to sustain a commercially-viable business providing high quality training services.