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Sector News, 01 - 05 February 2010

Damaging job prospects for young people? Education Guardian, 02 February 2010.

Experts are claiming that the Government is wrong in its view that by 2020 the number of jobs requiring few or no qualifications will shrink to 600,000.  The experts argue that low level, low paid jobs will remain at around 7.4 million.  A figure of 600,000 appears to come from the Leitch Report, which said that the number of economically active adults without qualifications will have shrunk to 585,000. Whist the Institute for Policy Research (IPPR) agrees with that figure it states that there are 7.4 million jobs requiring no formal entry qualification despite there being only 2.5 million economically active people in the UK with no qualification and this figure is likely to remain constant.  In short there is a discrepancy in the way in which the Government has interpreted the statistics.  IPPR believes that if the Government’s vision is fulfilled then it will leave many qualified young people disappointed with opportunities in the job market.

Pupils turned off school find a new route to success.  Education Guardian, 02 February 2010.

Construction, gardening, locksmith and landscape companies are taking part in a scheme organised by “Working Rite” an Edinburgh based social enterprise company.  They take 16 to 18 year olds and place them with companies to learn from skilled adults.  They are deliberately placed on their own, away from their peer group, and they are paid £100 per week, a payment to which the companies contribute.  The system has been a success placing 75% of its young people in apprenticeships on completion of their ‘work experience’.  So impressed have the Tory party been that they have adopted the scheme, known as Toolkit, as a model for working with disaffected youths.

Is this another brick in the wall?  Education Guardian, 02 February 2010.

Private universities are increasing, much to the concern of academics.  For example, in Denmark, Lego is proposing to build a university at Billund, its home town, and no it is not going to be made out of Lego bricks. The Danish Government is about to change the law which prevents private universities being created and Lego is set to take advantage of this.  Various European governments are struggling to fund public higher education and a shortfall of student places is likely to lead to more demand for private higher education.  In the UK Buckingham is the only institution that does not take government funding.  However, there are 40 universities that have partnerships with private education companies.

Working together.  Education Guardian, supplement, 02 February 2010.

This week’s supplement covers how further education contributes to the economy.  As usual there are no direct links to the Guardian newspaper but links have been made to other sources where possible.

A world-class future. (Introduction)

Professor Sa’ad Medhat, chief executive of the New Engineering Foundation.

Professor Medhat asks that at a time when FE’s administrative base is being moved from the Learning and Skills Council, that we do not lose sight of the real business of further education. His organisation encourages innovation, supports revolutionary learning and exhorts FE to focus on communities.  The professor believes that an outstanding college offers more than can be found in an Ofsted report.  Colleges offer a high level service to a community of employers, locally, regionally and nationally and they are organisations well equipped to react rapidly to change.

Local authorities are ready to take back the reins of education.

John Freeman, director of the React programme which offers a guide for local authorities, offering an overview of their new duties.

John Freeman believes that local authorities are well placed to meet the needs of their local economies.  It is John Freeman’s opinion that “the culture of post sixteen education needs to shift from command and control to a more engaged environment”.   Although local authorities have not had formal engagement with colleges since 1992, many have kept informal relationships and cementing relationships with the various interested parties will be the key to a successful future.

Skills for a brighter tomorrow.

Janet Murphey

Leeds City College runs an ethical hacking course where people employed in IT are given the skills to make life difficult for hackers.  The course informs on the likely risks inherent in software packages as well as practical 'hands on’ on a custom built virtual web site.

Building Britain’s future: New industries and new jobs.

Going for Growth” the Government’s strategy for continued implementation of its agenda “New Industry” (published in April 2009) was launched on January 7th.  The Government’s aim is to build up an infrastructure and skills support for sectors such as low carbon, advanced manufacturing and digital and creative industries.

Links to Government strategies on new industries:New Industry, New Jobs”, Apr. 2009

                                                                                      Skills for Growth”, Nov. 2009

                                                                                       Going for Growth”, Jan. 2010.

The best of both worlds.

Three stories; about a nuclear scientist, a rock musician and a travel agent who have all been innovative in one way or another.

Dr Bob Mudd, is a section leader for maths and science at Bridgewater College.  He realised that as existing nuclear reactors were becoming old coupled with a desire for less carbon emissions the government would have to consider re-building the nuclear industry.  This would mean new trained workers and it offered an opening for his college, especially as Hinckley Point A is close to the college.  When a team of American nuclear experts, called in to advise on the decommissioning of Hinckley Point arrived they came straight to the college.  In part Dr Mudd got ahead of the game by using his CPD time to visit the research centre for European Pressurised Reactors, which are at the cutting edge of new nuclear technology.

Jason Murphey is a music technology tutor at City College, Brighton and Hove.  Jason ensures that he is up to date with all the latest music technology and keeps links with the music industry.  Students actually produce records on their own “Brighton” record label and have inputs from people in the local music industry.

After gaining a degree in travel and tourism management, working as a rep in Biarritz and as a passenger service agent at Stansted airport, Nicole Gibson finally returned to her roots at Harlow College where she is employed as a teacher.   She has kept her contacts at Stansted and people from the airport will regularly visit Nicole’s classes.

FE teaching qualifications since September 2007.

All new teachers must achieve the Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector award within one year of their appointment.

Associate teachers must also achieve a Certificate of Teaching in the Lifelong Learning sector within 5 years.

Full time teaching staff must achieve a Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning sector within five years.

All new teachers must complete the process of professional formation which culminates in having Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills or Associate Teacher Learning and Skills status.

Teachers employed prior to September 2007 do not have to have Qualified or Associate Teacher Learning and Skills but are encouraged to do so.

Practice makes perfect.

The numbers of apprenticeships has risen since the introduction of “modern apprenticeships” in 1994.  Although apprenticeships have provided training for centuries, they took a dip in the early 1990s.  Apprenticeships are not merely confined to engineering, there are opportunities in just about every industry.

For more information about apprenticeships go to

Numbers cut will ‘hit poor hardest’.  THE, 04 February 2010.

A leading academic has warned that poorer students will miss out on university places due to the cuts in Government spending and the sanctions imposed on universities for over recruitment.   Sir David Watson, professor of higher education management at the Institute of Education, comments that whenever cuts have been made in the past it has always been prospective students from disadvantaged backgrounds that have missed out.   A recent Hefce study has reported a rapid increase in the proportion of young people entering higher education from the most disadvantaged backgrounds since the mid 2,000s

See also, Leader, “The trust deficit’s heavy toll”.

Fees ‘no substitute’ for Treasury funding.  THE, 04 February 2010.

Vice chancellors have said that fees must not be used as an excuse to replace public funding.   The Government promised, that when top up fees were introduced they would be additional funding.  Vice chancellors are concerned that the Government is about to break that promise.

Wary foreigners are in the ghetto.  THE, 04 February 2010.

Overseas students tend to ‘stick together’ and form social ghettos, with Thai students being the most separate.  The problem seems to be two sided with foreign students feeling more comfortable amongst their own kind and UK students making little effort to mix.

Have you nothing to say about the cost and value of what you provide?  THE, 04 February 2010.

Opinion, Anna Fazackerley, head of education at the think-tank Policy Exchange.

Anna comments that universities are particularly quiet about tuition fees and they seem incapable of making rational decisions about fee levels.  Additionally she accuses some vice chancellors of believing that they should not concern themselves with the student experience.  It is time. She argues that an open and detailed discussion is held about tuition fees to date and what should happen to them in future.

Major articles in this week’s THE:

“Truth? There’s the rub”.  Simon Blackburn discusses the difficulty of separating the truthful person from the sincere but self-deceived.

“Extreme makeover”. How Hong Kong has rebuilt its curriculum to embrace ‘experiential learning’ and internationalism.

“Pecking order”. Peter Lennox explains how keeping chickens has led him to a greater understanding about behaviour, ethics, evolution and the nature of modern efficiency.

Your cheating art: penalties for exam fraud increase by 6.2%.  TES, 05 February 2010.

Whilst regulators report that cheating is extremely rare, there has been a 6.2 per cent increase in the number of penalties given to students for cheating during last summer’s examinations.    The most common offences are smuggling mobile phones, calculators, dictionaries and other banned items into the examination room.   However, there are examples of other offences including, collusion and copying, disruptive behaviour, inappropriate writing and offensive or obscene material on coursework.

Funding bodies plan is a ‘mess’, say MPs.  TES, FE Focus, 05 February 2010.

“The same people, doing the same job, wearing different hats” is how one MP describes the creation of the two new funding agencies for FE.  Other MPS have called the move a mess saying that it will save no money and merely increase bureaucracy.

Trail of recession leaves dent in apprenticeship recruitment.  TES, FE Focus, 05 February 2010.

The number of apprenticeships being offered has fallen by about 6 per cent during the first part of this academic year. Engineering, science and manufacturing, the sectors worst hit by the recession, have reduced the number of apprenticeships on offer.   Whilst colleges have increased their intake and the numbers of 18 to 25 year olds who have obtained training places has increased, the figure remains disappointing.

Colleges could thrive as companies, says paper.  TES, FE Focus, 05 February 2010.

The 157 group of leading colleges has suggested that FE colleges could do well if they changed from corporate to company structures.  There is nothing to stop colleges becoming agents who run schools, training companies or student financial services.

One in five providers slashed courses for most vulnerable, says delayed report.  TES, FE Focus, 05 February 2010.

According to a report published by the Institute of Employment Studies (IES), courses for people with learning difficulties or disabilities were cut by one in five colleges when the funding for adult courses was reduced.  This has happened despite the funding bodies saying that courses for disadvantaged students should not be affected by any cuts.  Colleges have defended their position by stating that reduced funding or requirements to focus on priority courses made it inevitable that some courses would be removed. The report is particularly embarrassing for ministers who three years ago released a plan to improve education for those with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities aged up to 25 years.