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Caste differences in the acquisition of soft skills among disadvantaged young people in India

Blog by Clare Lyonette, Sudipa Sarkar, Gaby Atfield, Beate Baldauf, Bhaskar Chakravorty and Erika Kispeter

‘Soft’ skills are important labour market skills and include social aptitudes, language and communication capability, friendliness and ability to work in a team. Using survey data collected at two time points from a large sample of disadvantaged young people enrolled on a skills training programme in India, we examine whether caste affects initial levels of soft skills, and whether or not these skills can be learned during a relatively short period, providing young people with longer-term opportunities within the labour market.

IER's Lynn Gambin to provide evidence on Apprenticeships to Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy

Lynn Gambin has been invited to provide evidence to the Select Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy for their inquiry into apprenticeships and the 'skills gap'. Lynn will appear before the committee along with other academic experts, apprenticeship training providers and the National Union of Students on 8th June at 2pm. For more information on the Committee's Inquiry and the evidence session, see

Previously, Lynn served as Specialist Adviser to the Education Select Committee on its inquiry into Apprenticeships and Traineeships for 16-19 year old (see the Committee's report here).

Researching the needs of adult learners

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Education has commissioned the University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research (IER) to undertake research which will provide insight into the needs of adult learners. It will also consider how policy and practice should adapt in the next five to ten years to increase participation and attainment. There is a particular focus on disadvantaged adults and those who may find education challenging. The research is being supported by the Group of Specialist Designated Institutions (of which WEA is one). The research findings will be shared with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Education in July.

Interested in contributing?

Call For Evidence – IER are looking for contributions from interested individuals and institutions to build a view on the current state of policy and practice in adult education as well as looking ahead to what may need to change in the near future.

Adult Students’ Survey – IER are also looking for responses from current and recent adult students through an online survey aimed at gaining an understanding of what works and what needs improvement in current practice.

If you have any questions about either please contact

Lynn Gambin at Policy-UK forum on Apprenticeships

Lynn Gambin will be chairing the second session at a Policy-UK forum on 10th March 2016 at the Royal Society of Chemistry, London. The forum, 'Creating a generaton of Apprentices - funding, quality and a route to employment', is scheduled to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week 2016 and will provide delegates with an opportunity to hear the latest progress and policy priorities aimed at ensuring young people have the skills required by employers. With the Government committed to creating 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020, this for will consider how these new apprenticeships will be funded, what can be done to ensure their quality, particularly since concerns have been raised by Ofsted about the number of apprenticeships being awarded for ‘low-level’ skills (examples include tea making and cleaning floors), as well as how to encourage more employers to provide training and qualifications for young people, including the success of Trailblazer groups. Delegates will also discuss the availability of Higher Level apprenticeships and how their status can be improved and recognised as an alternative to university, as well as assessing whether the post-apprenticeship route into employment is adequately defined and supported.

IER's Lynn Gambin will chair the second half of the event which includes sessions entitled 'Are apprenticeships delivering for young people?' and 'What employers want - do apprenticeships address the skills shortage?'.

Details of the event can be found at here.