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Sector news, 8 - 14 February 2015

Financial difficulties at ‘50 colleges’ FE Week, 9 February 2015

Around 50 colleges could be in serious financial difficulty due to a “perfect storm” of capital debt and 16 to 19 funding cuts, it has been claimed. Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group, said the figure was “sector rumour”, but said for 50 colleges to experience serious problems at the same time suggests a systematic problem.

More employers should offer work experience, says UKCES TES, 12 February 2015

Meaningful work experience should be a part of every young person’s education, according to a major new report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. It said more employers should open up their workplaces to young people to offer valuable work placements. Its report, Catch 16-24, published today, says employers value work experience, but the majority aren’t engaged with education, with only 20 per cent offering placements to schools and just 12 per cent offering placements to colleges. It said young people are caught in a ‘Catch-22 situation’ when it comes to finding employment; unable to get work without experience and unable to get experience without work. Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said post-16 education should not just be about exams, but ensuring young people have a mix of employability skills.

Social mobility undermined by spending plans FE News, 11 February 2015

In this article,Sally Dicketts, chief executive of Active Learning, a collection of education groups that includes Banbury and Bicester College, City of Oxford College and Reading College, wrote about the fact that post-16 education remained unprotected from potential cuts after the election, and that that period of education offered the greatest opportunities for social mobility. She said the FE sector should get behind a campaign for fairer funding and make the case for investment in a sector which significantly improves the career and life chances of young people.