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New T Level Resources for Teachers & Careers Advisers
September 18, 2020
Visit the dedicated T Level page on the Amazing Apprenticeships website to access a set of helpful T Level resources for teachers and careers advisers.

On the page you will find:
Video of Minister Keegan explaining T Levels for students and parents
Presentation (with script) for teachers to explain T Levels to students
Student posters
Graphical explainer film
A comprehensive Teacher Guide 
Wide range of explainer recordings and accompanying presentation slides
Ofsted Seeks to Make Oversight of Subcontractors More Comprehensive and Transparent

Ofsted has published new research looking at subcontractors in the further education and skills sector.

New research by Ofsted finds that subcontractors in the further education and skills (FES) sector often have overall control of the day-to-day quality of a learner’s education and training. However, directly-funded providers do not always exert enough influence to manage the subcontracted provision well. For example, they might not have the necessary subject or industry expertise to review provision meaningfully.

The research also found that the current approach to inspection means that some subcontractors are visited more than once, while others are not visited at all.

While Ofsted is not funded to directly inspect subcontractors, the research proposes a more comprehensive and transparent approach to improve oversight.

The report, ‘Subcontracting in further education and skills’, recognises the acute economic challenges FES providers are facing as a result of COVID-19, as well as the broader decline in subcontracted provision over recent years. It explores what makes for high-quality FES provision delivered through subcontracting and asks how inspection and regulation might need to adapt as a result of a rapidly evolving landscape.

Ofsted is responsible for inspecting the quality of education offered by directly-funded FES providers, but inspectors do not report on all subcontracted provision. However, the inspectorate has increased its focus on subcontracting over the past 2 years, in response to concerns about the quality of some subcontractors.

Currently, Ofsted inspections give a rounded judgement of a directly- funded provider by sampling activities across the provision. The choice of subcontractors to sample is made within practical constraints, such as their location. These activities then inform the leadership and management judgement of the directly- funded provider and, where appropriate, the quality of education judgement.

The report suggests there are limitations to this approach and concludes that the oversight of subcontracted education could be improved by sampling more subcontracted provision. Therefore, Ofsted is seeking to make inspecting and reporting on subcontracted provision more comprehensive and transparent by:

  • working with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to improve access to timely and accurate data on the number and size of subcontracting arrangements held by a directly-funded provider
  • increasing awareness among inspectors of Ofsted’s available inspection resource, in order to investigate more subcontractors
  • changing the way evidence is recorded to systematically and consistently include information about all subcontractors visited
  • where appropriate, highlighting more subcontractors in inspection reports

In particular, more accurate data from the ESFA would allow Ofsted to arrange to visit subcontracted provision that was far away, because out-of-region resources could be factored into planning.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, said:

The financial stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and ESFA’s tighter regulations around subcontracting make this an important and timely report. Over the past two years we have increased our focus on the management of subcontracted provision. However, this new research has highlighted the importance of reviewing subcontractors within our current model.

We are open to exploring how we could directly inspect subcontractors in the future, but that would need significantly more financial resource and better data. So, for now we will continue to inspect subcontractors as part of our inspections of directly-funded providers. But I’m confident that the changes set out in today’s report will make our oversight more meaningful and transparent.

The report is based on visits to 14 subcontractors in November and December last year; focus groups with 38 inspectors; and desk-based analysis of inspection reports and evidence bases, as well as other publicly available data on subcontracting.

ESFA Update: 16 September 2020

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: 16 September 2020

ESFA Update academies: 16 September 2020

ESFA Update local authorities: 16 September 2020


Items for further education

ActionAdditional traineeships performance-management point
ActionCall out for user testing
ReminderFE teacher training grants and bursaries for 2020 to 2021 academic year
ReminderColleges, please submit the DfE educational settings status form each day
InformationNational Apprenticeship Awards 2020 open for entries
InformationFunding Higher Risk Organisations and Subcontractors Policy
InformationView Your Payments public beta
InformationReminder of business case deadline 30 September 2020: financial support for independent learning providers (ILPs) delivering 16 to 19 study programmes
InformationLaunch of NHS COVID-19 Test and Trace App
InformationReviewing qualifications before the moratorium in the November 2020 review month
InformationFE Mentor Training Programme
InformationOversight of ITPs and large provider team
InformationEnglish and maths requirements in apprenticeship standards at level 2 and above
InformationChanges to funding rules monitoring reports
Feedback16 to 19 statement and supporting guidance

Items for academies

ActionCall out for user testing
ReminderNew academic year, new governance appointments
InformationReminder of business case deadline 30 September 2020: financial support for independent learning providers (ILPs) delivering 16 to 19 study programmes
InformationThemes arising from ESFA’s assurance work 2019 to 2020
InformationNational roll-out of the early career framework (ECF)

Items for local authorities

ActionAdditional traineeships performance-management point
InformationReminder of business case deadline 30 September 2020: financial support for independent learning providers (ILPs) delivering 16 to 19 study programmes
InformationDedicated Schools Grant (DSG) management template
InformationNational roll-out of the early career framework (ECF)
Feedback16 to 19 statement and supporting guidance

Published 16 September 2020

Complimentary aelp Webinar
September 17, 2020


The Coronavirus Pandemic and resulting lockdown presented unique challenges for all of us – creating problems we hadn’t previously encountered and forcing the implementation of new ways of working, without notice.

Every person and every organisation had a unique experience, but what we wanted to uncover was – what were the experiences we shared? And what can we learn from it all to enable business recovery? In July and August of this year, supported by Bud, AELP surveyed the provider base to better understand how their organisations had coped with the challenges of lockdown.

This webinar will outline the results not only of the survey, but of follow-up interviews conducted with many respondents where we were able to unpack with them some of the hard data and get a much better flavour of how the sector coped – of what lessons were learned, what will be taken forward beyond the lockdown/pandemic period – and of course, what didn’t work so well!


This webinar will enable providers to:

  • Compare their own experience against those of the wider sector
  • Share best practice and learn from mistakes
  • Plan for future events of this nature such as a second wave, or a local lockdown


The survey was aimed at front-line providers and the results are therefore likely to be of most relevance to organisations directly delivering work-based learning – in particular apprenticeships. Staff with responsibility for contingency planning will also find this of benefit.


This webinar is sponsored by Bud. Please register with your business email address for your complimentary place. 


Access to the live webinar, recording, slides and Q&As after the webinar.

Register Here

Being Selfish Won’t Help Your Career
September 15, 2020

By Laura Counts

A new study finds that being manipulative and disagreeable isn’t the path to success. 

The researchers conducted two studies of people who had completed personality assessments as undergraduates or MBA students at three universities. They surveyed the same people more than a decade later, asking about their power and rank in their workplace hierarchies, as well as the culture of their organizations.

They also asked their coworkers about the study participants’ workplace behaviour and rank. Across the board, they found those who scored high on disagreeable traits were not more likely to have attained power than those who were generous, trustworthy, and generally nice.

Read More

Climbing Career Trees Instead of Ladders

An article by Gail Kastning.

Climbing the career ladder has never fit with how I see my work life. I don’t lack motivation or the desire to succeed. Rather, I pioneer and innovate. I need to climb outward not just upward and I like options and opportunities to work in ways that fit with how I want to live my life. However, I’ve second-guessed myself and asked, “Why can’t I find comfort and security in the idea of a career ladder?”

I blame my parents. I grew up the daughter of portfolio careerists who streamed income from various sources. Before the portfolio career concept was trendy, my father and his wife made a living from their grain farm and three side businesses. My mother and her husband made a living from a grain and cattle farm, one seasonal job, three part-time jobs and a variety of side hustles. I had role models who indirectly taught me to diversify my income and even though they suggested I get a “nice, cushy, secure, 9-to-5 job with a steady paycheque and a good pension,” they never worked like that themselves.

Reasons why the climb is no longer as appealing 

The career ladder has had a long life. All we have to do is search online to find countless articles teaching us how to climb it quickly and other articles advising us how to successfully survive the climb. Although it’s still a way of working that has provided solid careers, the ladder has come under scrutiny.

Randstad Canada predicts 35% of the Canadian workforce will be contingent by 2025. There’s also a change in how workers want to work. Many of us no longer want to put in the long hours it takes to climb to the top, not to mention the fact that not everyone wants to be a leader. In addition, we have learned how to define success in other ways, and with new workforce models allowing us to work differently and technology giving us the option of working from anywhere in the world, we now have interesting options.

Creating resilient, agile workers that adapt to change

My parents were the epitome of resilient, agile workers who were able to quickly adapt to changes in the farming industry in the 1980s. Resiliency was fostered through a willingness to diversify income streams through side hustles, working salaried jobs off the farm or starting additional businesses. Our family side hustles ranged from making pickled eggs and selling them in the local pub, to commercial ice fishing in -30-degree winter weather, food catering for local events and painting homes. At one point, my father took on a side hustle working with the local plumber and when the plumber left town, my dad saw an opportunity, went back to school in his 40s, and added plumbing and heating to his resume because the work fit around the farming season. It was this type of agile, entrepreneurial thinking that helped my family maintain their way of life.

Today, the changing nature of work is demanding that we develop a similar resilient, agile mindset. Whether it’s out of choice or out of necessity, workers across the globe are diversifying their income and working differently.  A 2016 McKinsey Global Institute report, Independent Work: Choice, Necessity and the Gig Economyoutlines the growth in independent workers in the US and Europe. People are participating in the gig economy because they are either “financially strapped” and needing extra income or they are taking advantage of the opportunities to earn extra money.

Side hustles are also growing and are now classified as a subset of the gig economy. They are entrepreneurial in nature, a creative outlet and can also be a smart career strategy. A CBS Eye on Money segment called Why Side Hustles are on the Rise featured the growth in side hustles in America. Seen as a residual outcome of the former recession, side hustles are still on the rise with participants flexing entrepreneurial muscles or growing passion projects.

Highly skilled executives are also jumping off the ladder. Michael Greenspan, in his article for Harvard Business Review, How to Launch a Successful Portfolio Careerprovides advice on how to move from the corporate ladder to a more organic portfolio career of consulting, contract work, writing and speaking, among other options. Income streaming has become not just an idyllic daydream but a realistic option.

The Tree Approach™ 

In my parents’ world of work, there wasn’t a career ladder with rigid rungs to climb. There was work to do, a living to make and agile was just something you became. Today, we’re expected to have the same approach. But does the career ladder support agility?

After many years of watching my family work unconventionally and working out of the box myself, I began to wonder how I became so highly adaptable and agile. Was it because, like my parents, I didn’t have a career ladder inside my head? What did I envision as a model for my career? I decided to capture how I saw, organized and managed my career. I put it to paper and it came out looking like a tree.

Over the past three years, I have piloted The Tree Approach™ and it has resonated with clients of varying occupational backgrounds. It is both a visual model and a process of seeing our work life in a new way. Unlike the career ladder that can be swept away in an economic downturn, The Tree Approach™ has us build capacity and resiliency by developing a strong root system. We then learn to explore new workforce trends and opportunities in varying economic conditions. We learn how to adopt broader strategies for managing our careers in a global workforce that is evolving because it provides us with a new framework for how we envision possibilities. The model also supports long-term sustainability by developing skills in strategizing our careers throughout changing seasons of our lives and changes in the evolving world of work.

Rather than seeking stability and security in a career ladder that can blow away in the wind, we create a solid tree with a root system that can weather storms and career strategy that can grow in any climate.

Gail Kastning is a Certified Career Strategist. She is a portfolio careerist who streams income from consulting, contracting, coaching, speaking, passive income and rental property. Her company is called PURPOSEFUL CAREERS.

Managing Your People Effectively in the Post-Pandemic Era
September 11, 2020

By Tim Boag

The coronavirus lockdown has forced millions of employees to adapt to socially distanced working arrangements and working remotely – a trend many expect to continue well after the pandemic subsides.

Multinational businesses such as Facebook and Twitter have already moved towards making working from home the norm, a shift enabled by technology and telecommuting.

For small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, who may not have the resources of larger firms, hybrid or blended working is more likely to become the new normal, where employees split their time between the office and home.

Managing colleagues remotely can be challenging. Homeworking can cause mental stress, video call fatigue, burnout and a craving for ‘real’ human interaction.

These factors are exacerbated by the added worry of the pandemic. In this climate, leaders need to establish how they can best manage their workforce, maintain good levels of productivity, and care for their employees’ mental and physical wellbeing.

Below are some useful tips to help manage your business during this challenging time:

Keep in regular contact with stakeholders and customers

SMEs should prioritise frequent communication with key stakeholders, whether they are colleagues or customers. Although face to face interactions are difficult right now, video conferencing tools – such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Google Hangouts among others – make it easy to keep in touch with your stakeholders.

Instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Skype offer an even quicker way to communicate updates and information to stakeholders. Finding the right communication tool can often be a case of trial and error but it’s important to find the right one for your business.

Encouragingly, Aldermore’s recent research found that 30% of SMEs had actually increased the amount they communicate with customers and clients during the pandemic.

Of course, while frequent communication is crucial for maintaining employee morale and keeping on top of workloads, it’s important not to go overboard and inundate your people.

Find out what frequency works best for your organisation. If daily calls are causing fatigue among employees, switch to having them every other day or even weekly.

Embrace technology

Communicating well with stakeholders from home often relies heavily on technology. Aldermore’s research found that one in five (20%) SMEs wanted more guidance on how to improve the technological capacity of their business.

One simple way of improving capabilities, is to provide employees with the necessary IT tools – whether that means providing training, a sufficient laptop, a monitor, mouse or headphones, they should have the tools they need to work from home effectively.

Technology can also play an important role in improving interactions between a business and its customers. To ensure our brokers and SME customers were backed throughout this crisis we fast tracked the launch of our online broker portal, Asset Backer, to all our intermediary partners. Asset Backer offers an electronic, paperless end-to-end process, which allows businesses to continue working with customers remotely.

Have robust cyber security measures in place

Mass working from home has created more opportunities for fraudsters to target companies and their customers. Since February for example, over 2,100 COVID-19 related scam cases have been reported to Action Fraud.

Given the heightened risk, it is important companies have robust security measures in place to protect their business. Even simple steps such as reminding employees to regularly change their passwords and keeping their laptop locked when not in use, can go a long way to protecting a business.

Employee wellbeing has to be the number one priority

During this pandemic, it is crucial that businesses focus on the wellbeing of their people. Leaders need to be even more conscious of someone’s personal circumstances and show flexibility towards them, for example allowing those with childcare commitments to flex their working hours.

Keeping morale high can be difficult in these challenging times, but organising virtual coffee catch ups or quiz evenings can go a long way towards boosting spirits. As humans we all need that social interaction, sense of belonging and shared identity that has been put under pressure by lockdown.

As the economy emerges from the gloom of the pandemic, businesses leaders must face up to the prospect that a large proportion of their colleagues may want to continue working at least part of the time out of the office.

When managing a workforce at a distance, it is vital that leaders keep in frequent contact with their stakeholders, embrace technology, monitor and respond to the wellbeing of their employees.

By doing so they will be able to reap the benefits, including increased productivity, improved employees’ morale and enhanced efficiency.

Tim Boag is group managing director of business finance at Aldermore

ESFA Update: 9 September 2020

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: 9 September 2020

ESFA Update academies: 9 September 2020

ESFA Update local authorities: 9 September 2020


Items for further education

Reminder16 to 19 tuition fund opt-in template deadline 16 September 2020
Informationclosure of Register of Training Organisations
InformationKeeping Children Safe in Education
Informationnew educational technology (EdTech) support for FE teacher and trainers
Your feedbacksurvey on Functional Skills assessment

Items for academies

Actionsubmit your budget forecast return 3-year 2020 before the deadline
Informationrequirement to publish salaries on trust websites
InformationKeeping Children Safe in Education

Items for local authorities

InformationKeeping Children Safe in Education

Published 9 September 2020

Student Experience in the Time of COVID-19 – Survey Results
September 10, 2020

By Tribal Group, 07-September-2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 was, in modern times, unprecedented. And it required an unprecedented response from education institutions around the world.

Now, over six months on from the emergence of the global pandemic and with many institutions preparing for the start of a new and potentially uncertain academic year, it is useful to gauge how students feel about their institution’s response to COVID-19 to date.

How have institutions performed on communicating key information to their students throughout the event? How successful was the – in most cases, very rapid – transition to online learning?

What should institutions be aware of in terms of student experience as they navigate through the COVID-19 era?

Read more »

CareerWise Canada: Working with Mature Clients


This article covers several challenges mature workers face and how career pros can address them.

Career professionals have a broad range of tools for success when working with mature clients who have been in full-time management or administrative roles for 10+ years with the same employer.

Many of these workers are dedicated professionals who were known and respected in their recent workplace for their strong knowledge of the organization and its processes. Often you can hear them say, “I don’t know how to put this on the resume, but I just get things done. I’m very reliable.”

Mature workers who have not had to look for work in several years need help understanding ATS, networking, follow-up and ways of articulating their professional differentiators. The added challenges of post-COVID hiring may include higher competition, more agile businesses and more reliance on technology. In the current climate, mature workers may also need some assistance with highlighting their technical skills and their ability to work remotely.

Understanding the Agile, Contingent Workforce of Today

Competition is high, many roles are temporary, and businesses are trying to be agile and save resources. COVID-19 is introducing new remote ways to do business, use more technologies and delegate tasks to workers (in any location) who can be productive in a remote setting.

If your client was used to stability and long-term employment in their previous organization, they may first consider acknowledging the current situation to position themselves as a candidate who offers both stability and adaptability.

To support mature workers:

  • Prepare them to leverage their experience and years of dedication to previous employers while expressing their adaptability to most recent changes in hiring.
    • They can speed up their hiring process by being highly articulate about their measurable results, technical skills and soft skills – the combination that makes them stand out.
  • Train them to highlight their hard skills as well as demonstrate confidence, competence, resilience and strong communication. A candidate with a calm, executive presence is seen as a reliable employee able to handle challenges.
  • Articulate their value for them: focus on their ability to build consensus at all levels of the organization while listening to employer’s needs and solving problems.
  • Help your client identify their top 3-5 differentiators that make them competitive.
    • You may recommend that they write down a list of their top 10-15 strengths and pick 3-5 from this list when applying for a specific role.
    • You can help them adopt a positive attitude of sharing, in concise terms, their unique professional value with a focus on employer’s needs.
    • You can emphasize the necessity to research a target company, follow up, reach the hiring manager and build their LinkedIn network.

Understanding the Achievement-Based Resume Structure

As with all other applicants, mature workers may focus too much on job duties in their resumes.

To support your clients:

  • Explain how the resume logic evolved with a focus on readability (documents must be easy to skim) and measurable results (‘problem – action – result’ format).
  • Train mature workers to think in terms of how they solve problems and what outcomes they deliver (vs. process and experience).
  • Ask specific questions or develop questionnaires to help them articulate results.
  • Encourage them to prepare for interviews following the same achievement-based approach and think in terms of how they can help employers save money, make money, improve operations or address difficulties.

Understanding Current Job Application Cycles

Submitting a resume alone is not enough. Many mature workers may favour a resume spray approach where they send applications to 50+ open positions online, without prior knowledge of companies. Help them understand a job search strategy as a more focused, yet varied effort.

To support your clients:

  • Help them inform their immediate network (service providers, community organizations, extended family, former colleagues or clients, religious, sports or recreational affiliations, etc.) that they are looking for a new role.
  • Encourage your clients to create a list of 20 target employers and research them, follow them on social media, identify decision-makers and connect with them on LinkedIn.
  • Provide your clients with examples of networking messages that are brief, clear and authentic.
  • Help your clients understand the full cycle of the job application process:
    • customizing the application for each specific role
    • following up
    • networking online
    • building relationships while interviewing (for future opportunities)
    • “closing the sale” after in-person interviews with some form of 30-60-90-day plan or a list of their action items for the first month if they were to be hired.
  • Inspire your clients to be proactive at every stage of the application vs. waiting for a response. Help them understand that an online job application puts them in the pool of 100-200 other applicants and an interview invitation puts them in a pool of 2-6 other competitions. What will they do to keep standing out?

Throughout the process of working with mature workers, remind yourself of where they are coming from and how this informs their current motivation, approaches or challenges. By showing your understanding and acknowledgement of their current state, you can help them adopt new ways of looking for work faster, while finding the best approach for each individual.


Tanya Mykhaylychenko is a resume writer with a background in university teaching and IT staffing. She is a member of Editors Canada and Career Professionals of Canada.