Thursday, 8 July 2021
Department of Education and Skills
Further and Higher Education
18. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the proposed SOLAS FET funding model of the future for the Youthreach programme will be funded based on the number of students completing the programme with QQI certification; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36508/21]
Youthreach is one of a broad suite of 34 Further Education and Training (FET) programmes that are currently funded through the FET System Funding process. This process is essentially a full cost model where each programme initially receives a set amount of funding commensurate to the estimated costs of delivery. Ultimately, the funding provided corresponds to the full costs of delivery.
A review of the funding model operated by SOLAS for FET is currently underway. The proposed alternative funding model, which is being considered by SOLAS for all FET provision, seeks to align available funding directly with learner activity by apportioning it with regard to the previous year’s completion returns. The model aims to improve upon the existing funding system by reflecting both the unique nature and characteristics of different types of FET provision and the learner outcomes that are produced. In this respect, it is important to emphasise that this would not be a Youthreach funding model but rather a FET funding model. The envisaged benefits of such an approach include increases in transparency, efficiency and value for money.
The funding review is ongoing and no conclusions have been reached with regard to the funding of Youthreach or any other aspect of FET provision. The future funding approach for Youthreach will reflect its particular characteristics and the intensive learner support required in its delivery – it is not planned to fund Youthreach on the basis of number of students completing the programme with QQI certification.
I wish to assure the Deputy that it is a priority for my Department that the final funding model adopted will ensure that the Youthreach programme maintains the crucial contribution it makes to providing a safe, structured and supportive environment of learning for early school leavers.