The failure of the provider should prompt us to reflect seriously on the role of the marketplace in learning and skills, says Stephen Evans, Chief executive, Learning and Work Institute
Working Links’ fall into administration is bad news for the people they support and their employees. Its case is different to that of learndirect and other providers. But together, they should give pause for thought about the nature of markets in learning and skills and their limits.
Firstly, commissioners need to be realistic. A large part of Working Links’ problems came from its struggling probation contracts. Its management and staff bear responsibility for bad practice, such as assessing probation users as lower risk to avoid putting sufficient resources into helping them. But the government should have heeded the warnings at the time of procurement that you couldn’t cut huge amounts of money out of the system without affecting the service. Added to a focus on price, rather than value, this leads to a vicious circle where providers either put in unrealistic bids or face going out of business. Read more
This Handbook is one of the products of the MYFUTURE Erasmus+ project. It offers educational leaders and career guidance staff practical ways for improving the quality of career guidance products and services in their secondary schools (ages 11-16), with a special focus on career education.
The goal of the Handbook, and the frameworks, resources and tools it provides, are meant to be useful in catering more effectively for all students. However, a special emphasis is placed on the needs of those who, for different reasons, have disengaged from formal learning, or are in danger of doing so. Career guidance is one of the ways we have of re-igniting motivation in such students, especially when the service offered by the school is robust and fit for purpose.