Top Education and Skills Funding Agency officials have suggested they are not concerned about the financial health of the independent training provider sector, despite several high-profile closures and market exits. Senior agency directors told the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) autumn conference that data they have gathered shows the sector’s finances are looking positive. However, Andrew Thomas, director of finance and provider market oversight at the ESFA, said this didn’t tally with the financial data he was getting from providers themselves. “It does feel like the tone of the conversation hasn’t quite been in line with what you’re saying to us in terms of financial health,” Thomas said. According to the agency’s review of financial statements for the most recent financial year, 60 per cent of ITPs are rated good or outstanding for their financial health, down from 66 per cent six months ago. Click here for more.