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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

Funding for Debt Advice in the North West and London 2019-22
August 3, 2018
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The following has been published by The Money Advice Service.

We are delighted to announce that we have opened applications for debt advice funding in the North West of England and London for 2019-22, with up to £7.5 million in the first year available to potential partners from July 2019.

We are looking to fund organisations who will work in partnership to deliver high-quality free debt advice to over-indebted people, in line with our strategic approach to debt advice commissioning.

Funding is open to applications from all types of organisations, which may apply as a single applicant or as part of a wider consortium. The deadline for applications is 12:00 pm on Wednesday 31 October 2018.

Organisations wishing to apply should register on the MAS eSourcing portal in order to access information relating to our funding for debt advice, including application forms. This can be accessed here: mas.bravossolution.co.uk.

For general information on our commissioning approach in the North West and London please visit our website here.

£1million to Improve Life Skills for Young People in Doncaster
July 25, 2018
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A £1 million programme to improve access to sports, arts and culture for 5,000 disadvantaged young people across Doncaster has been launched today by Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

Young people from some of the most deprived parts of the town will have access to free extra-curricular activities and healthy meals over the summer holidays including competitive sport, cooking classes and outdoor pursuits. The programme will help broaden young people’s horizons, giving them the opportunity develop lifelong skills in leadership and teamwork, as well as helping build character, resilience and confidence so they can become successful adults.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds launched the programme of activities, funded through the Government’s Opportunity Area programme, during a visit to Bentley Youth Centre where he met with the first young people to benefit from the scheme this summer.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

The Opportunity Area programme is about broadening the horizons of young people from disadvantaged areas. I want every young person living in Doncaster to be able to access extra-curricular activities that build the resilience and character they need to fulfill their ambitions, whatever they are.

This investment will help young people in Doncaster learn the skills of leadership and teamwork that are so important later in life, giving them the boost in confidence they need to succeed in education or the world of work.

The funding includes £550,000 to pay for a programme of summer activities in 2018 and 2019, and a £450,000 fund for local voluntary and community groups to support young people in Doncaster develop additional skills through out-of-school activities from September. Read more

New Multi-Million Pound Deal To Boost Skills Across West Midlands
July 20, 2018
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EXTRACT PRODUCED BY DMH ASSOCIATEFROM https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-multi-million-pound-deal-to-boost-skills-across-west-midlands

Businesses, young people and adults across the West Midlands are set to benefit from a new skills deal, which could unlock up to £69million, the Education Secretary has announced today (18 July).

The skills deal agreed with the West Midlands Combined Authority will boost digital and technical skills, job opportunities and productivity across the region – supporting more young people and adults into work as well as upskilling and retraining local people of all ages.

The Government will co-fund the new skills deal, alongside employer funding and the West Midlands Combined Authority will invest £20million into this area as set out in their Skills Plan.

The new deal includes:

  • Creating hundreds of new apprenticeships at small and medium sized businesses in priority areas, including in construction, automotive and digital sectors – helping increasing job opportunities for all.
  • A multi-million investment in local colleges – ensuring they have access to the latest equipment and facilities to teach the skills the region and the country need, including digital, and construction.
  • Up to £5million to work with employers to develop a National Retraining Scheme (NRS) pilot to drive adult learning and retraining.
  • £1million to boost Edtech and the way it supports adult learners in the West Midlands.
  • £1million to improve careers advice for young people, including a new careers hub in the West Midlands.
  • Piloting an innovative online portal for businesses to share work experience opportunities with schools.

Some of this country’s most acute skills challenges are found within the West Midlands, which the skills deal will aim to address through the new funding and support for the West Midlands economy, driving local growth. This deal builds on the work already underway through the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which aims to boost productivity and earning power across the country. This includes investing in maths, digital and technical education to help generate well-paid, highly skilled jobs across the country. Read more

Multi-Million Pound Fund to Help Tackle the Disability Employment Launched
July 18, 2018
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A £4.2 million challenge fund to support people with mental health or musculoskeletal conditions to stay in work has been launched by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, and the Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities, Jackie Doyle-Price.

The fund is the latest in a range of government measures that are part of a 10-year strategy which aims to see 1 million more disabled people in work by 2027.

The challenge fund, run by Rocket Science on behalf of the government, is aimed at testing new approaches to help people experiencing mental ill health or musculoskeletal issues to remain in employment.

They might be at risk of losing employment because of the effects of their condition, or may already be temporarily off work through ill health.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Sarah Newton, said:

We know there is a gap between disabled people who want to work and those who have the opportunity to do so.

With 78% of people acquiring their disability or health condition during their adult life, it’s crucial that we support disabled people who want to work to stay in or return to employment.

Read more

16 to 19 Funding for Advanced Maths Premium

The advanced maths premium is funding for additional students studying specified level 3 maths qualifications.

This guide has been updated today (4 Jul) covering:

Summary

The advanced maths premium is funding for additional students studying specified level 3 maths qualifications. It is paid at a rate of £600 per year per additional student for one or 2 years, depending on the type and size of qualification studied.

The premium will first be paid automatically in 16 to 19 funding allocations for the academic year 2019 to 2020. For this payment, the number of additional students will be measured between the average of academic years 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017 and academic year 2018 to 2019. Read more

Multi-Million Pound Fund Launched to Help Colleges Improve
June 29, 2018
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An innovative multi-million pound fund to boost the quality of education offered across the further education sector has been launched by Skills Minister Anne Milton (28 June).

Speaking at the Association of Colleges conference, the Minister announced the main phase of the £15million Strategic College Improvement Fund (SCIF), which will partner strong colleges with those in need of improvement –to share best practice and drive up standards.

Colleges that need support to improve will be able to apply for a grant to work with a stronger ‘partnering’ college and together they will create an action plan to tackle the issues they face.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

We want to improve the quality of education for everyone. It is vital that all further education and sixth form colleges are able to give people the skills and knowledge they need to get on in their life and succeed in the workplace.

I’m really thrilled to announce the next phase of the £15million Strategic College Improvement Fund. This fund will enable colleges to work together to improve standards across all colleges.

 

The launch of this fund follows a successful pilot phase, which saw fourteen colleges receive grants totalling over £2million. Outcomes from the pilot included colleges reporting that the fund built awareness of good practice, fostered mutual learning and enabled rapid action to improve quality.

This move follows the launch of the National Leaders of Further Education and National Leaders of Governance programmes, which also aim to spread the expertise seen in the top colleges across the country.

Association of Colleges Director of Education and Skills Policy David Corke said:

Read more

£3m Skills Boost For Greater Lincolnshire SMEs

Greater Lincolnshire’s businesses are being encouraged to take advantage of free training in the region, as a further £3m of funding has been made available.

The fund, accessible through the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) project and co-financed by the European Social Fund, will give companies, including SMEs and sole traders, the opportunity to offer their employees professional training across a range of skills and sectors.

Nigel Brough, regional development manager of the SSW project in Greater Lincolnshire, said: “The project has already made a significant impact in the region, having helped 900 businesses and 4,000 employees gain new skills over the last 12 months.

“Securing an additional £3m funding means we will be able to extend that reach and support even more businesses, helping them to achieve their growth plans by offering them the opportunity to upskill employees through free training and improved productivity. Each employer receives a bespoke training programme, taking into account what works for them and their business in terms of training locations and timings.”

The £3m of funding is an extension of the SSW programme, which pairs local providers with employers based on their location and the specific type of training required, has been running across the region for the last year.

Read more

Free Childcare to be Extended to Foster Carers for the First Time
June 22, 2018
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Foster carers to receive the 30 hours free childcare offer for children in their care for the first time from September 2018.

Nadhim Zahawi

The Government also announces that over 340,000 children were in a 30 hour place in the first year of the policy.

Foster parents will have access to the Government’s flagship 30 hours free childcare offer for three-and-four-year-olds from September, giving them the same rights as other working families in England.

The extension marks a significant step forward in improving the support available for foster families who work, allowing them to take up the additional 15 hours of free childcare already available to other working parents since September 2017.

Today (21 June) the Department for Education has also published data showing over 340,000 children aged three and four years old benefitted from a 30 hours place in its first year, giving thousands of families access to high-quality, affordable childcare. Parents benefiting from the 30 hours free childcare offer can save up to £5,000 per year on their childcare costs, and some parents have been able to increase their work hours or work more flexibly – helping to put more money back in families’ pockets and balancing work and home lives.

Read more

Review of Apprenticeship Rates Announced
May 23, 2018
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The Institute for Apprenticeships has announced that it is to review the rates for 31 standards (see table below), at request from the Department for Education.

It comes after the department announced last week that the IfA will now have 30 funding bands to choose from – the maximum rate paid for from the levy – up from the current 15.

Analysis by FE Week shows that 21 of the 30 standards with the most starts this academic year are among those being reviewed by the IfA.

The 31 involved represents 64 percent of all starts on standards in the first half of 2017/18 (45,900 out of 71,720).

Reviewed funding band recommendations will be made to the Department for Education, who take the final decision on all funding bands.

The 31 standards involved in this review are: Read more

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