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ESFA Reminds Providers it Will Take Action to Crack Down on Poor Sub-contracting Practice
October 3, 2019

ESFA Chief Executive writes to post-16 education and training providers to underline the strict sub-contractor rules

ESFA Chief Executive, Eileen Milner, has today (Thursday, 03 October 2019) written to education and training providers to remind them that the ESFA will take action where there is evidence any provider is not playing by its strict sub-contracted rules.

Under the rules, a sub-contractor can deliver education and training on behalf of a lead provider in receipt of ESFA funds. However, lead providers have a legal duty to make sure public funds are spent according to the ESFA’s sub-contracting rules, so that learners receive the best possible education or training. The majority of subcontracting is done well and in accordance with the rules.

In accepting ESFA or public funds, providers confirm they accept the terms and conditions of their funding agreement, and that they have a process in place to ensure that sub-contracted provision is delivered properly, securely and meets ESFA rules.

The letter builds on the action the ESFA has already taken this year to tighten its sub-contracting requirements.

This includes launching a review to improve subcontracting arrangements, more robust examination of data and information, holding individuals and organisations to full account, pursuing all avenues available and, where appropriate recovering public money.

Later this year, ESFA will also be seeking views from the sector to inform the ongoing review of sub-contracting.

‘Alexa, Help Me Get a Job at McDonald’s…’

McDonald’s has launched the world’s first voice application process, to help attract curious but time-poor candidates from all walks of life.

The following article is by Harriet Hounsell, chief people officer at McDonald’s UK

We are a restaurant business, but we are also a people business. We have

more than 120,000 employees, and every day they welcome almost four million people into our branches up and down the country. Over the past few years roles in our restaurants have changed – our self-order screens have freed up our people from behind the counter to focus on hospitality. We’re employing more people, from all backgrounds and all life stages, but in slightly different roles.

Used in the right way, we’ve found that technology can be both an enabler for current employees and a way to attract and recruit new staff. It can also help simplify the job application process.

Research from CareerBuilder found that 60% of jobseekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. Jobsite Indeed also found that the average application form can include a vast 63 screening questions. As employers we should not be creating barriers for prospective employees and the application process should reflect the brand or business they are applying to. For us that means the process should be quick, convenient and fun.

So we are launching the world’s first voice-initiated job application process, giving candidates the ability to start their application simply by saying ‘Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s.’ Users will jump-start their application by answering a few basic questions including their name, job area of interest and location. Potential applicants will then receive a short text message with a link to continue their application process.

This isn’t about simplicity for the sake of it. There is a business imperative behind making it easier to attract younger time-poor recruits; they help to foster diversity in the workplace and have the potential to refresh old ways of working. We must be ready for Generation Z – those aged 16 to 24 and the first fully-digital generation – who are finishing their education and joining the workforce.

Voice assistants have more than seven million daily users in the UK, according to Deloitte. So we think they’re a fun and powerful way to reach candidates from all walks of life – whether they’re looking for their first job or to return to the workplace after a career break. The fastest growth in users is actually among 55- to 75-year-olds, who are using voice assistants on a daily basis to do things like getting weather updates or playing music. By utilising Alexa and Google Assistant we will be reaching an audience who might not have previously thought about a job at McDonald’s.

Regardless of background, we hope this initiative encourages people to get in touch about a wide variety of roles in our 1,270 restaurants across the UK and Ireland. We believe it’s important to look at new ways to recruit and understand if that’s what people want from us.

There’s never been a better time for businesses to embrace how we use technology in our daily lives. This marks the next step in how we are redefining the application process, casting our recruitment net wider as a result.

Harriet Hounsell is chief people officer at McDonald’s UK

ESFA Update: 2 October 2019

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


ESFA Update further education: 2 October 2019

ESFA Update academies: 2 October 2019

ESFA Update local authorities: 2 October 2019

Items for further education
Reminderget ready for Brexit
Informationhigh needs funding operational guide for 2020 to 2021
Reminderfunding claims 2018 to 2019 – final claim
Actionqualification achievement rates (QARs) 2018 to 2019
InformationHow to submit your growth funding business case for mainstream budget traineeships
Informationapprenticeship technical funding guide
Items for academies
Reminderget ready for Brexit
Actionland and building collection tool is now open for completion by 4 November 2019
InformationDeclare or seek approval for a related party transaction – new guidance from 26 September
Informationhigh needs funding operational guide for 2020 to 2021
InformationAutumn school census is approaching
InformationLearnED Roadshow events
Items for local authorities
Reminderget ready for Brexit
Informationhigh needs funding operational guide for 2020 to 2021
Reminderfunding claims 2018 to 2019 – Final claim
Actionqualification achievement rates (QARs) 2018 to 2019
InformationApprenticeship technical funding guide
InformationLearnED Roadshow events

Published 2 October 2019