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ViewPoint: By David Hughes – Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges
November 8, 2018
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By ignoring colleges, the Budget ignored the UK skills crisis Far from being a “People’s Budget”, the Chancellor failed to address the critical need amongst young people and employers for investment in colleges.

“The hard work of the British people is paying off. Austerity is coming to an end.” These were the words of the Chancellor as he introduced his Budget for “the strivers, the grafters and the carers”. I’ve even heard commentators talking about it as a “People’s Budget”. The problem, as always, is which people?

There are many other commentators who will pore over the tax and benefits announcements to declare how fair or otherwise the Budget was and who won and who lost. What I saw was a Budget that was more about politics and potholes than about the jobs, skills and life chances.

Any long-term view of our country will recognise just how important it will be to improve our education and skills investment as the weaknesses in our labour market become more exposed. Employers in private and public sectors have become reliant on skilled and semi-skilled people moving here to work, many from the EU. Nurses, teachers, engineers, construction workers, carers, shop workers – the list goes on and on. That reliance has hidden the misfit between our education and skills investment and the jobs that are available.

Read more

A Canadian ViewPoint: Supporting Clients with Mental Health Challenges
October 19, 2018
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Career development practitioners should take a holistic approach, supporting their clients’ mental health while helping them navigate career planning By Derrick McEachern

Career planning is a mental-health intervention and a well-being practice. What people do each day shapes who they are and how they feel about their daily lives

People who are disengaged from their work, unemployed, undergoing a work transition or ambivalent about their career path may struggle to varying degrees with stress, uncertainty, low self-worth, anxiety and, in many cases, depression. However, government programs traditionally focus solely on employment: helping people find work using their current skills or retraining them in specifically targeted fields with a high probability of employment.

Well-being and mental-health research (Walsh, 2011) suggest a more holistic approach is necessary. There is a need for more comprehensive services that account for employees’ lifestyle factors and support employee engagement and retention while also addressing mental-health problems.

Well-being and mental health

In their book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, Tom Rath and Jim Harter document research conducted across 155 countries that suggests five interconnected elements are predictive of overall well-being. Read more

ViewPoint: Jim Carley on 3aaa
October 16, 2018
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There is a well-known proverb, which I am sure you know: “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” says Jim CarleJim Carley, Managing Director, Carley Consult Ltd

The Department for Education were arguably made to look like fools when Learndirect first started to unravel.

Barely a year later and the latest scandal to shake the apprenticeship sector is the sudden and seismic demise of 3aaa, and it looks like the Department may have been fooled again.

Police Investigation

It’s still not 100% clear what went wrong at 3aaa, and we may have to wait some time before the whole story is fully known.

Problems began over the summer when their latest Ofsted inspection, which many perceived would result in them sustaining their previous outstanding rating, was declared incomplete.

The latest allegation suggests that 3aaa had spent more than £1.6m on professional sports sponsorship between 2015 and 2018, despite making £2.8m in pre-tax losses in the 18 months to January 2018. Read more

ViewPoint: ‘The Heroic Leadership Model is False and Damaging’
October 10, 2018
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School and college leaders are facing huge pressure, which is taking its toll on their mental health, says Stuart Rimmer principal and chief executive of East Coast College

A few weeks ago, I was driving back from another late college meeting; it was the end of a 70-plus-hour working week and lists of unfinished jobs whirled around in my head.

We’ve had to grapple with plenty of major issues: a second merger in two years; Education and Skills Funding Agency intervention; post-Ofsted plans for the new term; a £30 million budget that only just balances; changes in the senior team; and disruption to staff through necessary, but rapid, change.

My headache was pumping and the fatigue was extreme: tiredness hung behind my eyes and thoughts began to quickly tumble out of control. My fingers started to tingle, my breathing got shorter and I was overwhelmed by a flood of emotions – of fear, sadness and helplessness.

I pulled over on a dark, deserted rural Norfolk road, placed my head against the wheel and fought to get myself back in check. After 10 minutes of “box-breathing meditation”, it passed.

It was the third time that month that this had happened.

Working in a senior role in a college or any large organisation means that you are subjected to a false, ongoing narrative of heroic leadership that we as leaders keep clinging to, and some other staff do, too. Read more

ViewPoint Humana: Let’s Retire the Word ‘Retirement’
October 8, 2018
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There is still a negative bias in how we view people over the age of 65. That needs to change because there is nothing but disruption on the horizon when it comes to ageing. Originally Published by Humana.

Work has changed in America, and our notion of work is evolving along with society.

Thanks to advances in science, from antibiotics to vaccinations, life expectancy in the U.S. has increased. In 1900 it was 46 years for men and 48 for women; it’s now 77 years for men and 81 for women.

Today’s work environment is less dangerous and taxing, thanks to a century of new safety laws, machines and computers that have transformed offices and factories. The demands on our lives and our bodies are not what they once were.

People also have more opportunities due to advances in transportation, with breakthrough ideas like ride-hailing apps and rapid light rail. Such options within cities are enabling many, particularly seniors, to get out of their homes more often. Read more

International ViewPoint: Injecting Hope into the World of Careers
October 1, 2018
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The following was written by Jim Bright, Professor of Career Education and Development at Austrailian Catholic University (ACU), and was published in The Sydney Morning Herald

Imagine if a school or college could offer the promise of moving students from mostly D grades to mostly A grades, could increase their engagement with learning and give them a clearer and more confident sense of their vocational identity. Too good to be true? Well perhaps not, according to a team of Canadian and US researchers who have made and connectedIllustration: Kerrie Leishman the missing links between career counselling and positive psychology.

Recently here I wrote about my concerns that some schools appear to have embraced positive psychology so uncritically that they have all but abandoned properly informed career counselling. I argued that this was an over-reaction. However, what I like about this North American research is the way that key concepts in positive psychology have been employed in the service of career counselling and education, rather than erroneously supplanting it.

Spencer Niles, Norman Amundson and Hyung Joon Yoon from William and Mary College, University of British Columbia and Pennsylvania State University have developed a hope-centred model of career development. The central notions combine hope, self-clarity, vision, planning and adaptability.

What sets this work apart is that they have conducted large-scale studies in educational settings linking these concepts to measures such as a person’s confidence in and clarity of their career interests, talents and personality. They also linked hope to student engagement – for instance, the degree to which a student spontaneously worked harder than they thought to meet a teacher’s expectations. Finally, they linked it to the very tangible measure of grade-point average – the number of As, Bs, Cs or Ds that a student is achieving. Read more

ViewPoint: Career Sleepwalkers
September 21, 2018
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The following ViewPoint was written by Josh Bersin, a global industry analyst covering HR, talent, leadership, and HR technology was published in Forbes.

As the labour market continues to tighten, employers are grappling with skills gaps and retention challenges that span the frontlines to the C-suite.

Ambitious employees jump from one hot company to another to stay ahead and get promoted. Frustrated staff move jobs search a better place to work. But churn may also be fueled by aimless workers moving from role to role — or company to company — in search of direction.

According to a recent report from LinkedIn Learning, a growing number of employees are “Career Sleepwalking,” with 37% of employees now claiming they have no sense of a career path. What’s worse, some 23% say they feel like they are “on a treadmill going nowhere.” The result? 80% of those under 24 would consider switching careers (function or industry). Read more

ViewPoint: Good Governance Must be Pursued by all Providers’
September 19, 2018
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What does good governance look like for independent training providers, asks Dr Sue Pember

When we see the annual summer education headlines on television and in newspapers – the GCSE exam results, back to school and university, etc – we can be tempted to make the mistake of forgetting the
ViewPoint:ongoing work of the independent sector, which works with employers, apprentices and trainees all year round. This is something we should correct.

Independent training providers are vital to the nation’s success and make up a significant part of this country’s skills provision and training, but often they only make the press when something goes wrong – and often this is a breakdown of governance. Therefore, good governance is key to achieving success, improving reputation and safeguarding the longevity of the sector.

In the world of corporate governance, achieving good governance is not a new pursuit, and debates as to what it looks like have been raging for many years; when it fails it can have dire effects on a company. So, like all essentially contested concepts, what we know and understand by the term “good governance” may never be fully understood, but it is now time to take that debate into the independent training sector.

Clear principles ‘are vital’ Read more

ViewPoint: New Approach to Funding Apprenticeships will Provide Better Value for Money
September 17, 2018
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A new approach to funding apprenticeships will provide better value for money so that people can benefit from the training opportunities on offer and progress in their careers, says Anne Milton writing in FE Week.

I have spoken a lot about the important changes we are making to improve the quality of apprenticeships in this country.

 One of the biggest changes has been to introduce apprenticeship standards – new, high-quality apprenticeships replacing the older “frameworks”. I’m really pleased that the number of people starting these apprenticeships has increased by almost 1,000 per cent in the last year. Of those starting apprenticeships only 2.5 per cent were on standards this time last year, and now it’s over 40 per cent.

Apprenticeship standards are designed by employers themselves. By putting employers in the driving seat, we make sure that apprentices receive the training they need and make sure people have the skills businesses are crying out for, so they can get on and grow their career.

Since its creation in April 2017, the Institute for Apprenticeships has been responsible for managing the development of these new apprenticeship standards. Their work includes advising me about the right funding level for each new standard that is approved.

Read more

ViewPoint: Is Age Just a Number?
September 11, 2018
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Written by John-Claude Hesketh Managing Partner at global executive search firm Marlin Hawk.

The plight to increase workplace diversity has gained incredible momentum amongst companies of all sizes and sectors over the past decade.

What’s more, we are seeing business leaders working harderJohn-Claude Hesketh, Managing Partner at global executive search firm Marlin Hawk than ever to tackle the issue right from the start of the hiring process.

There is still a long way to go, but while we drive the diversity conversation forward, there remains an entire demographic we are in danger of leaving out of the picture even though they make up over 30% of the UK’s workforce: the over 50s.

According to the Chartered Management Institute, the UK will need “1.9 million new, well trained and highly skilled managers” in key leadership positions by 2024. Yet recent government research has revealed that there are up to one million individuals in the 50-64 age bracket whose potential to fill these roles are going unrealised, despite their ambitions to get back into the workplace.

In an increasingly digital age it is only natural for these patterns to emerge as organisations look to entice the younger CEOs and CTOs, believing that because of their age they can drive innovation, and focus more on making workplaces ‘Millennial-friendly’. However, this is not necessarily the case, and it is becoming clear that things need to change in order for us to truly begin tackling the issue of age bias from the top down. Read more

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