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National resources

National economic development resources

Government strategies and reports

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

BIS is the Government Department responsible for both business and further and higher education. Their policies for both these areas are set out in a number of Growth papers which support their objectives in these areas. Their website is

Skills for Sustainable Growth Strategy: The Government is taking the proposals from the Skills for Sustainable Growth strategy through the Education Bill which was introduced to the House of Commons on 26 January. This changes Level 2 and 3 entitlements and apprenticeship offers as well as the way colleges deliver. For more information see: 

Growth Review: Chancellor George Osborne and Business Secretary Vince Cable announced a fundamental review of what each part of Government is doing to remove barriers to investment in The path to strong, sustainable and balanced growth published on 29 November 2010. (PDF, 603 Kb) 

Plan for Growth: As part of the budget, the Government has published a Plan for Growth with the following aims: 'to create the most competitive tax system in the G20; to make the UK one of the best places in Europe to start, finance and grow a business; to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy; and to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe. See

A video of Vince Cable discussing the plan for growth is at:

Skills Investment Strategy: This publication sets out how Government investment for 2010-11 will support further education and skills training for post 19 learners. The funding will be routed through the Skills Funding Agency. Details can be found at:

Growth Investment Fund: The GIF is to help employer groups overcome barriers to growth within their sectors and industries. The funding could deliver new training to boost innovation and productivity, enable industries to set new professional standards, or support new or extended National Skills Academies. Read the article at:

Access to BIS Finance: The Government’s aim is for more UK entrepreneurs and businesses to be able to access the finance they need to enable greater levels of enterprise, whether expressed through start-up or growth. A list of the financial resources available from BIS can be found at:

Independent Review of Fees and Co-Funding in FE: The final report of an Independent Review of Fees and Co-funding in Further Education in England contains recommendations for a series of simple but powerful shifts in funding of education for adults in this country. For details see:

BIS papers on economics and social research can be found at: These include the BIS economics and social research strategy; Employment Market Analysis and Research (EMAR) publications, reports and research; further and higher education research and analysis reports.

National Learner Satisfaction Surveys (NLSS): A series of research papers on national learning, stemming from the National Learner Satisfaction Survey 2010 can be found at:

Skills Funding Agency

The SFA is an agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with a remit to fund and regulate adult further education and skills training in England. The SFA Delivery Plan 2010-11 can be found at:

Capital Funding for Colleges: The Skills Funding Agency have announced a sum of £25.7 million is to be shared among colleges that have not received substantial capital allocations in the past two years. Colleges will receive a minimum grant of £42,000 and the maximum grant payable will be limited to £200,000. See

Employers: The SFA recognises the importance of employers investing in training. Their website page for employers is at: and this gives general information and links to other programmes.


LSIS Funding for 2011-12: Funding has been agreed for LSIS to support quality improvement in the further education and skills sector for 2011-12 - some details available at:

The Healthy FE Framework: LSIS is offering a grant of up to £1000 to 20 Work-based learning, adult and community learning and offender learning providers to help them review and appraise the Healthy FE Framework for suitability and accessibility for their learners and staff. Closing date 22 March 2011. Details at: 

Implementing the FE Workforce Strategy: The 'refreshed' workforce strategy published in March 2011 sets out the key issues facing the sector with the actions needed to ensure the implementation of the Workforce Strategy in the months ahead. Read it at:

Joint Investment Programme

This Joint Investment Programme brings together public and private funds to deliver skills to meet opportunities for business productivity and growth, or to address a market failure in the provision of vocational skills in a sector.

The Joint Investment Programme 2011 is open to applications from Sector Skills Councils, Industry Training Bodies, formally constituted Sector Bodies, National Skills Academies, Employer Associations, Trade Associations and Professional Bodies. The closing date for current applications is 3 June 2011.

National Skills Academies

National Skills Academies are employer-led organisations with a leading role in developing the infrastructure needed to deliver specialist skills for key sectors and sub-sectors of the economy. They employers and specialist training organisations together to develop solutions which tackle the skills challenges facing their sector. Part of the Growth Investment Fund guidance on funding can be found on the UKCES website at:

There are currently 18 National Skills Academies in various stages of development that are focused on looking at the way a sector’s training and development needs are addressed. The sectors currently covered by NSAs can be found on the Business Link Website at:

National Employer Service

The National Employer Service is part of the National Apprentice Service and works on behalf of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Skills Funding Agency to provide expert, impartial advice on workforce development, including Apprenticeships, Train to Gain and Skills for Life, to all national, multi-site employers with more than 5000 employees. Their website is at: 

Business Link

Simple to use, up to date and practical, Business Link is the first place to go to find guidance on regulations and to access government services. It also has a number of useful online tools, calculators, and best practice case studies; and provides access to funding options, as well as wider support.


The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) aims to encourage all adults to engage in learning of all kinds. They work with and for: adult learners, local authorities, government departments and agencies, voluntary bodies, charitable trusts, adult education providers, trade unions, employers, european funders. Their website is at:

Details of the Adult and Community Learning Fund which closes on 10 June are at:


The UK Commission for Employment and Skills is a Non-Departmental Public Body providing strategic leadership on skills and employment issues in the UK. Our Commissioners comprise a social partnership that includes CEOs of large and small employers across a wide range of sectors; trade unions and representatives from the Devolved Administrations. Its objectives are to provide labour market intelligence; generate greater employer investment in skills and help drive jobs, growth and an internationally competitive skills base. Their website is at: They have also taken over responsibility for Investors in People which can be found at:


Funding for Universities and Colleges: Capital investment funding to support teaching and research for HEIs and FE colleges can be found at:

Confederation of British Industry

The CBI is a membership organisation which is the UK's top business lobbying organisation. Our unmatched influence with government, policymakers and legislators means we can get the best deal for business – at home and abroad. It gives a lot of information but you do have to pay to join. Information at:

National Education and Training Resources

Reports, Standards and Qualifications

Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England: The new framework for apprenticeships sets out the minimum requirements to be included in a recognised English framework for Intermediate, Advanced and Higher apprenticeships. This includes qualifications related to the sector, functional skills, employee Rights and Responsibilities, Personal Learning and Thinking skills, On and off the job training and guided learning hours. It can be read at:

Skills Conditionality consultation: Skills conditionality involves Jobcentre Plus referring claimants to a skills training provider, further education college or Next Step adviser with potential benefit sanctions for non-participation. The training will include vocational, basic skills, employability training as well as support with softer skills such as motivation and confidence building. Read it at: See also article:
Skills are the answer to unemployment trap: John Hayes & Chris Grayling (DWP) on the new reforms to free Jobcentre Plus and training providers from unnecessary bureaucracy and centralisation. Read it at:

The Wolf Report: The 'Review of Vocational Education - The Wolf Report' by Alison Wolf into vocational education has been published. It looks at the issues with the current system of vocational education for 14-19 year olds and makes 27 recommendations, including enabling FE teachers with QTLS to teach in schools. Read the report at: Download a transcript of Professor Wolf's interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on 3 March 2011 at:

Review of Qualifications for Learning Professions Phase 2: The revised draft proposals for the new qualifications including PTLLS, CTLLS and DTLLS and how existing qualifications might link into the new framework including the Assessor and Verifier Awards are now published. There are workshops around the country you can attend or you can contribute online. For full details go to:

Using Technology for Learning: Practical advice and the results of an investigation into how technology is changing teaching and learning can be found at:

The further education and skills sector in 2020: A social productivity approach: All parts of the FE sector will be affected by the changes the Coalition Government is implementing in order to reform the way public services are designed, delivered and accounted for. This report looks at the changing landscape and suggests how it might move forward. Read the report at:

Training Quality Standard: The Training Quality Standard is a mark for training providers which recognises the best organisations delivering high quality, high impact training to employers. It highlights quality training by looking at the organisation’s responsiveness, flexibility, expertise and commitment to continuous improvement. Details can be found at:

National Organisations

Association of Colleges (AoC)

The Association of Colleges (AoC) exists to represent and promote the interests of Colleges and provide members with professional support services. As such, we aim to be the authoritative voice of Colleges – based on credible analysis, research, advocacy and consultation with Colleges – and the first choice destination for guidance and advice for members. The website is at:

National Apprenticeship Service

 Advice on Apprenticeships including what they are, statistics, levels, training, funding and the minimum wage can be found at:

A brochure for employers can be found at:

The Leadership and Management Advisory Service

The Leadership and Management Advisory Service provides tailored advice and support to senior leaders in England to enable them to fully engage with and optimise the contribution of their workforce. It is for senior leaders based in small and medium sized private sector businesses and social enterprises in organisations which have between 2 and 249 employees are located in England and are able to clearly demonstrate their potential for high or fast growth.

£20m management training fund has been set up by the Government which offers a matched funding grant of up to £1,000 to 13,000 organisations. This can be spent on leadership training and coaching that helps grow the business, improving productivity and competitiveness. The programme also includes a free consultation with an expert adviser before the training commences, as well as a free follow-up to discuss the impact of the training and any further skills needs. Details are on the Businesslink website at:

UKCES – Best Market Solutions


Led by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), this strand of the Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF) will give urgent priority to new initiatives that will boost business performance and enhance skills through the introduction of new professional standards, including occupational licensing and accreditation, training levies and action that stimulates employer commitment and investment in Apprenticeships including the establishment of Group Training Associations and Apprenticeship Training Agencies. Details of Best Market Solutions can be found at:

Workers’ Educational Association

The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) is the UK’s largest voluntary provider of adult education. Ever since it was founded in 1903, in order to support the educational needs of working men and women, the WEA has maintained its commitment to provide access to education and learning for adults from all backgrounds, and in particular those who have previously missed out on education. Their National website is at:

LSIS Excellence Gateway

The Excellence Gateway gives you access to the most comprehensive collection of information and resources, networks and development opportunities, brought together specifically for the further education and skills sector. It supports you as leaders, managers and practitioners in the development and improvement of your work with learners and communities. The website is at:

WBL Online

WBL Online is a community website for work-based learning providers in the West Midlands. It is part of a region wide project to improve the digital literacies of WBL providers and their staff and to highlight training and funding opportunities for WBL Providers. Details at:

Association of Learning Providers

The Association of Learning Providers (ALP) is a national membership organisation and is the recognised voice of independent learning providers who engage in government funded skills training and employability programmes throughout England. Their website is at: