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Filling a youth-shaped gap in the FE White Paper: Reducing inequalities in post-16 progression

Blog Editor, IOE Digital16 February 2021

Summit to think about: what will Chinese visitors learn from our emerging apprenticeship system? And what can they teach us?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital1 February 2017

Martin Doel
In December, Education Secretary Justine Greening led a small delegation to the latest UK China Education Summit in Shanghai, part of the wider UK China ‘People to People Dialogue’.
When arriving in China you anticipate striking differences in our two education systems, given our very different histories and political cultures. This is no doubt the case in many areas of education policy and practice, but in technical and professional education, through the four summits I have taken part in, I’ve become increasingly struck by the extent of shared concerns and similarities of approach between China and the UK.
When the Summits began, in 2012, university and school education were the predominant themes, but on this occasion the greatest attention in the formal ministerial summit was given to technical and professional education. In both nations it seems that the critical role of this sector in increasing prosperity, productivity and social equity is being (more…)

FE funding: less bad than feared but still very tough

Blog Editor, IOE Digital4 December 2015

Brian Creese.
You cannot deny the political cleverness of the Chancellor. A week on from the Spending Review people are still shaking their heads at how much less bad it was than they feared. Many are already sitting down to plan the next five years given that, unless those billions slip back behind the sofa again, there is at least some predictability in funding for the sector.
Earlier this week I was sitting round a table with colleagues from BIS, SFA, Niace, UCU, AOC and a range of think tanks looking at where the spending review leaves Further Education (FE). This slightly rosy view, maintained by BIS spokesperson Bobbie McClelland was finally punctured by Gila Tabrizi from UCU, who pointed out the catastrophic cuts in funding suffered by the sector in the past five years, and that even the spending review settlement of funding being ‘protected’ still amounted to a real cut in the adult budget of 8%. Funding for the sector will remain very tough for the foreseeable future.
There was much agreement on the main issues confronting FE at the moment, the extension (more…)

Why apprenticeship alone won’t fix the skills challenge of an ageing workforce

Blog Editor, IOE Digital1 December 2015

Alison Fuller and Lorna Unwin
There are now 1.3 million fewer adults (aged 19 and over) in further education in England than five years ago. Research evidence also shows that employers have been cutting back on off-the-job training since the mid-1990s. The average amount of training each worker receives reduced by about 50% between 1997 and 2012. Yet, the population is ageing and more people will need to stay in paid work for longer. The rapid development of digital technologies and other changes in the workplace mean that older employees (across all sectors) will need access to training to update their skills and to retrain. Pensions Minister, Ros Altmann has called for employers to focus on the ‘3 Rs’ of Retain, Retrain and Recruit to help businesses be more open to older workers.
So if you’re 40 or 50 and want to update your skills or retrain to find work or a better job, what can you do?
For the current government, affirmed most recently in the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review (25 November 2015), the challenge of (more…)