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Employer Confidence Plunges as Uncertainty Over #Brexit Bites
March 29, 2019
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New data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) shows employers’ confidence in economic prospects for the UK have dropped again, by eight percentage points from last month to net: -28.

This is the lowest level since the JobsOutlook survey began measuring sentiment about the economy amongst Britain’s businesses and is 54 percentage points lower than in June 2016.

Falling confidence in the economy is now affecting hiring decisions in respondents’ own firms. Employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions declined by six percentage points from the previous month to net: -1, the first time this measure has dropped into negative territory since the survey started in 2016.

Despite this weaker outlook, it is clear that employers are ready to hire in some areas – especially where there are skills shortages. More employers planned to increase, rather than decrease their permanent headcount in the short-term, at net: +17. Over the medium-term, forecasts for permanent hiring fell three percentage points this month, but remained positive at net: +22.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said:

“A year of falling business investment and weeks of Brexit inertia mean no-one should be surprised that employers’ confidence in hiring for their own business is now dropping. For months, businesses have told us that they were concerned about the general outlook for the economy – it is clear to us that this concern is now closer to home. Lower use of temporary labour is a sign of lower demand.

“But our jobs market is robust. Even now, recruiters are finding people new jobs and helping companies to compete. The fact that permanent hiring plans are still positive is a sign that the economy will deliver, if the fog of uncertainty is lifted from British business.

“The extension to the Brexit deadline gives us some space to find a pragmatic deal that will give the UK’s businesses the certainty they need to invest and create jobs. And it avoids a no deal, which the majority of recruiters – in line with the majority of all British businesses – see as deeply problematic for the economy and the jobs market.

“But we cannot delay forever. It is in politicians’ power to make the weaker data we see today a blip. Our labour market is strong. Giving firms certainty about a future deal that supports trade, jobs and investment would get the UK back on track.”

Other statistics from this month’s JobsOutlook include:

  • Half (49 per cent) of UK employers expressed concern about the availability of permanent-hire candidates, with a lack of Engineering & Technical and Health & Social Care workers continuing to cause most concern.
  • At net: -7, the balance of sentiment for hiring agency workers in the short-term was 13 percentage points lower than a year earlier. Sentiment in the medium term was 21 points lower than last year, at net: -8.
  • Following this quarter’s decline in anticipated demand for temporary workers, 35 per cent of employers intending to hire temporary workers expressed concern over the sufficient number of agency workers with the necessary skills they require. This is the same proportion as a year earlier. Employers are expecting the most severe skills shortages among construction workers, followed by education workers and drivers.
  • Four in five employers (82 per cent) had either no surplus workforce capacity, or such a small amount that they may need to hire more staff if demand increased.
  • Around half of hirers highlighted using agency workers to manage uncertainty (47 per cent), and access to short-term skills (51 per cent), as important reasons to use temporary agency workers.
  • Four in five (83 per cent) employers highlighted that the geographical and/or skills sourcing expertise of an agency was an important criterion when selecting their recruitment agency partners.

JobsOutlook is produced by the REC in partnership with ComRes. ComRes interviewed 600 UK employers involved in hiring by telephone between 11 December 2018 and 21 February 2019. Data were weighted to be representative of UK adults in employment by region, broad industry sector and public/private split. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

 

My Vision for Global Higher Education by Minister
March 29, 2019
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The following speech was made by Chris Skidmore the Universities Minister addresses the UUKi higher education forum 27th March 2019.

Good afternoon. And thank you for inviting me to speak at this year’s International Higher Education Forum here at Imperial College London on the importanceOfficial portrait of Chris Skidmore crop 2.jpg of staying international. Please accept my apologies for not joining you in person.

And all credit to the organisers – this Forum is certainly timely! We are now just a few weeks away from the UK’s departure from the EU. So, it is certainly important for us to be looking to the future and considering our relationships with the wider world.

Let me begin today by reaffirming our commitment to remaining international. Brexit may well mean that we are leaving the European Union soon, but it certainly does not mean that we are leaving Europe or, indeed, any of our global partnerships behind.

If anything, Brexit means we now need to be thinking and acting more globally than ever before. Our world-leading universities and colleges are international at their core. Our higher education sector relies on – and indeed thrives on – international connectivity, collaboration and partnership, and I want to see all those things continuing to flourish.

As it stands politically, we still wish to have a deal with the European Union, guaranteeing certainty until the end of the Implementation Period and continuing to participate in the Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 framework programme until then, while negotiating the terms of our Future Economic Partnership.

Read more

Women’s Progression in the Workplace: Actions for Employers
March 29, 2019
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Guidance for employers on the evidence based actions they can take to support women to progress, to help to close the gender pay gap and increase gender equality in the workplace.

Details

One of the drivers of the gender pay gap is that women are not progressing in the workplace as fully as their talents would allow.

Improving, measuring and evaluating recruitment, promotion and talent management processes; supporting part-time workers; and creating an environment where women feel that they fit and belong, can enable women to progress.

Read more

ESFA Update: 27 March 2019

Latest information and actions from the Education and Skills Funding Agency for academies, schools, colleges, local authorities and further education providers.

The Role of the Trainer Assessor for Apprenticeships
March 28, 2019
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If you currently deliver apprenticeship training as a trainer/assessor, your role is likely to be going through considerable change – writes Chris Cherry, Senior Associate, Strategic Development Network (SDN)

In the new world of apprenticeship standards, trainer / assessors need to:

  • Design and conduct the training differently
  • Integrate new assessment methods
  • integrate the concept of grading within the training, and
  • Prepare apprentices to meet the gateway and undertake end-point assessment.

This change is a huge amount to process for trainer / assessors.

So, to help, we’ve set out 15 quick questions to ask yourself to test whether you’re ‘standards ready’

15 quick check questions before embarking on the new trainer / assessor role Read more

Amanda Spielman Speech at the 2019 Annual Apprenticeships Conference
March 28, 2019
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The Chief Inspector discussed the apprenticeship landscape, current challenges that providers face and Ofsted’s approach.Amanda Spielman

The following speech was delivered on 27 March 2019 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)

Introduction

To say that the last few years have marked monumental changes for the apprenticeship market is no exaggeration. We have seen the introduction of the levy, standards, the off-the-job training quota, and of course degree apprenticeships – to name just a few.

This is a heady mix, and understandably, the sector’s had to work hard to adjust.

Since I spoke to you last year, apprenticeships remain in the headlines, and not always for the right reasons. The continuing fall in starts, highlighted again by the National Audit Office (NAO) earlier this month, is still a major cause for concern.

I am well aware that apprenticeship providers have a lot to contend with. The wider context that means that many of you are struggling to make apprenticeships available.

Read more

ESFA: Cap to Apprenticeship Off-the-Job Calculation
March 28, 2019
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The Education and Skills Funding Agency has insisted that an apparent change it made to the off-the-job training policy last week has always existed and does not contradict the funding rules FE WEEK reports.

As reported by FE Week, providers were left baffled after the agency updated its ‘apprenticeship off the-job training policy background and examples’ document which for the first time stated the 20 per cent calculation should be capped based on 30 hours of work per week.

Official funding rules for 2018/19 make no reference to a 30-hour cap in the calculation and providers have been including all “paid hours”.

FE Week sought clarification from the ESFA, which today provided this statement: Read more

Changes to Safeguarding Guidance
March 27, 2019
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Are you aware of the latest Department for Education’s safeguarding guidance?

Emma Hardy MP and Jess Phillips MP have written to all headteachers in England to raise awareness of the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ ‘report, which was redrafted following the Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into sexual violence in schools.

Read more

Free Webinar: “Birds-eye-view of the new trainer-assessor role”
March 27, 2019
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The following was published by FE News.

On Monday, 1st April (10.00-11.00am), supported by FE News and FE Careers, SDN are hosting a 1-hour free webinar, giving you a birds-eye-view of the new trainer-assessor role

No software is required – once you’ve registered, you’ll be sent a link so you can join us on the day.

Monday, 1st April (10.00-11.00am): Can’t make the date or time? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording. Read more

Growth in Women Doing MBAs
March 26, 2019
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There is rising gender equality in enrolment but a “mixed picture” when it comes to the beliefs men and women
have of what their MBAs will help them achieve.

The proportion of women enrolling onto Association of MBAs (AMBA)-accredited MBA programmes globally over the past five years has risen, according to new research from AMBA.

The latest  MBA Application and Enrolment Report found that less than a third (32%) of enrolees in 2013 were women, compared to 36% in 2017.

Read more

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