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Online Research Library Marks Ten-Year Anniversary
November 20, 2020
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The online library provides a comprehensive repository of the different and effective approaches to employer engagement and careers education. It brings together the latest thinking with selected research published over the past 40 years.

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Free to access and searchable by keyword, it features summaries of a wide range of studies with abstracts and links to the full reports. Over the last decade the library has become a valuable asset for researchers, academics and policy makers. With research articles and reports from leading figures and education bodies, visitors can examine issues such as employer-led learning, youth employment, career related learning in primary schools, and social mobility, as well as information on gender, ethnicity, and specific subject study such as STEM.

The main library is complemented by an extensive on-line video collection and a physical library. The video collection comprises over 150 videos of researchers discussing their work and its implications for policy and practice, together with conference presentations and seminars.

The physical library located in the Charity’s offices just off Fleet Street, London contains many out-of-print reports, including material from the former Centre for Education and Industry at the University of Warwick, and is accessible by appointment.

Online research library marks ten-year anniversary

The library plays an important role in shaping future direction in the field and driving positive change, explains Dr Anthony Mann, Senior Policy Analyst (Education and Skills) at the OECD:

To understand the impacts of employer engagement in education on young people, employers and society and the characteristics of its most effective and equitable provision, it is essential to draw on high quality research and important to understand how schools and employers have sought to work together in the past.”

“Globally, I am aware of no better resource for accessing high quality materials than the Education and Employers library. Very well catalogued, it an essential resource for anyone interested in ensuring that today’s policy and practice is undertaken in light of existing knowledge.”

The online library can be accessed here.

Chris James, Emeritus Professor of Educational Leadership and Management at the University of Bath reflects on the value of the Research Library:

First things first, Education and Employers has a crucial role in connecting the worlds of education and employment. The links between those two worlds are very significant for society generally, and for young people in schools and colleges, the link between those two worlds is central to their future lives.

It’s easy to develop ideas and conclusions about the relationship between those two worlds on the basis of personal experience and anecdotal evidence. Important though those ideas are, insights from high quality research provide a much more secure and robust base on which to develop theory, make policy and to determine the best actions in practice. Having a secure research-based foundation on which to build thinking about the relationship between education and employment is essential. It informs and underpins high quality policymaking and practice. That’s why the Education and Employers research resources are so important. They provide that essential secure research-based foundation which serious researchers, policymakers and practitioners require. Developed over 10 years, the collection is an invaluable resource for all those who have a serious interest in employee engagement in education, youth employment, education pathways, careers education and all those places where the worlds of education and employment interact.

The library charts developments in and changing attitudes to employee engagement in education and with articles covering a very broad range of issues including employer-led learning, the involvement of the world of work in school governing, careers education in primary schools and social mobility. Very usefully, the research is ‘open access’ – those with an interest in research reports and articles are free to access, which reflects Education and Employers values and charitable status.

The Education and Employers’ research collection has three sections, all of which inform a research-based understanding.

  1. The research library provides succinct and clear summaries of over 200 significant research articles and reports from the last 40 years. Importantly, the articles have been selected on the basis of their academic quality and relevance to careers education and matters that connect the realms and employment and education. The way the library’s structured enables those using it to search by key words – very helpful as any (serious) researcher will tell you. The library gives the abstract and the link to the full report/article. It is a comprehensive collection comprising academic papers and wider research reports from leading research and education bodies including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); The UCL Institute of Education; The International Labour Market; World Economic Forum; the Edge Foundation; the Sutton Trust; the Department for Education; Social Mobility Foundation, King’s College, London; the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD); Universities UK; and importantly, reports of the Education and Employers own research.
  2. The video library is a collection of over 150 videos where leading figures in the field talk about their research. This library also contains footage of conference presentations, symposia and seminars, which are often places where new ideas under development are shared and discussed. Many of these videos are particularly valuable for the way they bring research to life, give valuable summaries and syntheses different ideas.
  3. Education and Employers research blogs are an important source of research information. They provide insights into ongoing research and issues that are emerging in the research world about research projects, and syntheses of ideas. This part of the library contains over 50 blogs. It is a unique collection.

In addition to these e-resources, Education and Employers has a large collection of ‘hard copies’ of research reports of various kinds. They welcome visitors to peruse the collection in person. Make sure you book before you go, though. Just contact the Education and Employers via research@educationandemployers.org to arrange a visit.

All those who have an academic research interest in careers education and the relationship between the spheres of education and employment – academics and masters and doctoral students – will find the research library particularly valuable. It’s so useful to have the key articles and report gathered in one easily accessible place. The videos and the blogs will also give them valuable insights.

Policymakers (those who develop government policy) and practitioners (those at the chalk face as it were) will find the resources in the video library the blogs of particular interest. They may also find the research library resources useful and stimulating. Drawing on the high-quality research reported in the various articles/reports will enhance the authority of their work

Importantly, all those using the resources, both the e-resources and the ‘hard-copy resources’ will find them to be focused, organized and accessible.

In developing the research library, Education and Employers have put together a significant resource for researchers, policymakers and practitioners. I would urge all those who have a serious interest in the interplay between the education world and the employment world to explore the library in depth – it will enhance the quality of their work.

Chris James

November 2020

FBS Small Business Index

The latest FSB Small Business Index has found that times are tougher than ever for small firms after two difficult years.

The survey of 1,500 UK small firms, conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), finds that SME confidence has been in negative territory for nine consecutive quarters – since July 2018. It comes as small business revenue growth hits an all-time low and staff lay-offs hit an all-time high.

The Q3 SBI confidence figure stands at -32.6, down 28 points on last quarter. Only a third (34%) of those surveyed at the end of last month expect their performance to improve over the coming three months. The significant majority (66%) expect performance to worsen.

The findings also show that a record one in four (25%) small firms reduced headcounts last quarter. An even higher proportion (29%) expect to make redundancies over the coming three months; 12% say they expect to let at least a quarter of their staff go.

COVID-related disruption has caused revenue growth to fall to its lowest recorded ebb, with more than half (56%) of those surveyed reporting a drop. A similar share (50%) expect revenues to fall next quarter.

The FSB is warning that any potential economic recovery is stalling ahead of a difficult trading period in the run-up to Christmas and the end of the Brexit transition period. More than half of exporters polled say international sales have fallen over the past three months.

Although the FSB has welcomed the chancellor’s improvements to the current business and job support schemes, it is now calling for new measures, including:

  • Support for those that have received no income support to date;
  • A reduction in the cost of hiring new staff;
  • Lessening the burden of business rates;
  • Providing more resources for those looking to start a business for the first time.

“We must not forget that small firms were already under the cosh thanks to political uncertainty, rising costs and creaking infrastructure well before the Spring,” said Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman.

“The chancellor made some very welcome adjustments to support measures last week … However, too many are still without the help they need to weather current disruption – not least company directors, the newly self-employed, those without premises and those further down supply chains in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. An ambitious rescue package for these groups is urgently needed.

“If we want small business owners to create jobs, we have to bring down the costs of employment, starting with employer national insurance contributions. If we want them to invest, innovate and expand, we have to alleviate the strain of wider government-imposed overheads, including those stemming from an outdated business rates system which continues to stifle too many community businesses all over the country.”

Written by Rachel Miller.

Free webinar: How to Find the Right Debt Solution for Everyone
With guest speaker Gareth McNab, Nationwide Building Society 

Wednesday 11 November10:30 – 11:30

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

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

The £2bn Kickstart Scheme Opens

The £2 billion Kickstart Scheme launched on 2nd September 2020 and is now open to any employer.

The DWP has produced A Guide for Employers and there is a page for young people on the jobhelp website here.

Some key details:

  • On top of the wage subsidy, £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.
  • Applications are for minimum 30 job placements. Employers can partner with other orgs to reach the minimum number.
  • If your organisation is creating more than 30 job placements as part of the #Kickstart Scheme, you can submit your application directly here https://www.apply-kickstart-grant-employer.service.gov.uk
  • If your organisation is creating fewer than 30 Kickstart job placements, you must partner with others which could include:
    • similar employers
    • local authorities
    • trade bodies
    • registered charities

If you are a representative applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding to support associated admin costs. More information about being a representative is here


The Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements for young people aged 16-24, who are claiming Universal Credit.

Employers of all sizes looking to create quality jobs for young people can apply. Through the scheme, all organisations across the private, public and voluntary sectors will be able to access a large pool of young people with potential, ready for an opportunity.

The Government will fully fund each ‘Kickstart’ job – paying 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There will also be funding available to support young people to develop new skills and to help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart Scheme funded job.

Tracy Fishwick, Managing Director at Transform Lives Company, said:

“This is a very significant intervention in the labour market. It provides the opportunity to support the life chances of hundreds of thousands of young people who otherwise may be scarred by long-term unemployment.

“The best of Kickstart will ensure the investment works as hard as it can for a good and fair economy, that it works for the young people who need it the most and that it prevents short-term, low quality, cheap labour”.

Sam Windett, Director of Policy at Impetus and Chair of the Youth Employment Group says: 

“Young people have been hit hardest in the jobs market, with nearly one in seven in the benefit count and youth unemployment due to rise further as furlough unwinds.

“As the government’s Kickstart scheme launches, it’s “job starting” not “job done”.

“Employers, intermediaries and jobcentres have to get this right to ensure there are quality opportunities for the young people who need them.”

Read an article in FE NEWS ‘Kickstart Scheme Opens – New £2bn scheme will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs for young people’ here. 

You can find further information on the Kickstart Scheme at www.gov.uk/kickstart

Employers Warned of Looming Deadline for EU Workers to Sort Visas

Employers have been warned that the deadline for EU workers to have made their UK visa applications is fast approaching.

The latest government advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents states that anybody who had a visa that expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 was able to request an extension if they were not able to return home because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this can not be extended beyond the government’s most recent grace period of 31 August 2020 as travel restrictions are lifting globally. Those affected are therefore expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise their stay in the UK.

The government said those intending to stay in the UK, including those whose leave expires before 31 August 2020, should apply for the necessary leave to remain.

For anybody whose visa or leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, the government said there will be no future adverse immigration consequences if they did not make an application to regularise their stay during this period, however they must now do so by 31 August 2020 or make arrangements to leave the UK.

“There are some quite limited circumstances where people who are still intending to leave the UK but won’t have been able to get their affairs in order [by 31 August] can apply for exceptional assurances from the Home Office, but it’s currently unclear what that really means for them,” Charlie Fowler, senior associate at law firm Collyer Bristow, told HR Magazine.

Furlough Scheme Masks True Scale of UK Unemployment Rate
August 18, 2020
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The number of employees on UK payrolls in July 2020 was down an estimated 730,000 compared to March, according to the ONS labour market overview for August 2020.

Though the figures indicate employment is weakening due to the ongoing pandemic, the unemployment rate has remained largely unchanged due to an increase in economic inactivity, in which people are out of work but not looking for new jobs.

Joanne Frew, national head of employment at legal business DWF, said that this could be partly due to the number of people who have struggled with childcare throughout the pandemic and could therefore change as schools begin to reopen.

“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will also inevitably be masking the true scale of unemployment,” she said.

“Figures are expected to surge in October when the scheme closes. Although the government has launched the Job Retention Bonus to help incentivise employers to bring employees back from furlough, longer-term strategies will need to be implemented to help tackle unemployment.”

Both the UK’s youngest workers and older generation pre-retirement age were found to be the most likely to be temporarily away from paid work during the pandemic.

This has created cause for concern due to the hiring challenges presented to each age group, particularly in a highly competitive job market.

“The sharp fall in employment highlights a dramatic deterioration for the employment prospects of young people, part-time workers and older workers in particular,” said Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD.

“A real concern is that this is just the first wave of bad news for the jobs market. The fact that reduced hiring rather than increased firing of permanent staff is the main cause of the jobs slowdown to-date bodes ill for the coming months if more employers turn to redundancies as a last resort.”

To support those disproportionately affected by the post-pandemic job market, City & Guilds Group has advised government to redirect its existing funding for further education.

City & Guilds Group CEO Kirstie Donnelly said that the funds should be allocated to develop skills that match jobs which are currently available and in demand.

“As the labour market shrinks, it’s crucial that we take immediate action to ensure that people, especially those most in need, have the opportunity to get the training, skills and experience they need to access employment, and that young people leaving education understand what is a viable route into a job,” she said.

The report also found that pay decreased in the three months to June 2020 to rates below price inflation, although in sectors like hospitality and construction where workers are returning from furlough, pay growth improved slightly for June 2020.

The claimant count increased by 116.8% from March to July, reaching 2.7 million people.

Smaller businesses drove vacancies in this same period up to 370,000 – a 10% increase on April to June.

With mass redundancies, job insecurity, and a recession ahead, the CIPD has called on government to undertake further intervention.

“The combination of large-scale job losses, job insecurity and falling real incomes means that the UK economy needs all the help it can get,” added Davies.

“The government might therefore wish to consider keeping an open mind to protecting some industries through a revised Job Retention Scheme beyond the end of October and through the winter.”

Pandemic Forces Early Retirement in Over 50s
August 17, 2020
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An estimated 198,000 workers over the age of 50 dropped out of the workforce entirely between March and May this year, suggesting that economic pressure on employers is forcing many into an early retirement.

In analysis of the latest ONS data, recruitment firm Rest Less found that the over 50s, of all other age groups, experienced the sharpest rise in economic inactivity for this period.

This means that rather than being unemployed, people had left and were no longer seeking work due to leaving to care for someone, studying, illness or retiring.

For December 2019 to February 2020, 13.9 million people over 50 were regarded as economically inactive by the ONS. Between March and May this year, this number rose by 1.4% to 14.1 million.

By comparison, the economic inactivity level of those aged 25 to 34 declined by 1% to 1.6 million in March to May 2020, and inactivity in 18 to 24-year-olds declined 0.8% to 1.6 million.

The data adds to concerns that the government’s support schemes are overlooking other key areas of the workforce. ONS analysis from May this year also showed an increase in the number of over 50s making Universal Credit (UC) claims.

Over 50s that have left the workforce will be unable to claim their state pension until the age of 66, and an unstable job market may leave them with little options for employment, so UC or independent savings may be the only options available to them.

According to other recent findings from the Aegon Center for Longevity, 73% of UK employees are offered a retirement plan by their employer yet just 30% have a backup plan.

Rest Less founder Stuart Lewis said: “In the wake of the toughest job market in decades, there has been a significant rise in the number of workers over 50 who have lost hope in finding a job and feel forced into an early retirement that many simply cannot afford.”

He warned that, with the furlough scheme ending in October, the situation for the over 50s could be worsened in months to come.

He added: “Sadly, these numbers are simply the canary in the coal mine, we expect this to leave a permanent scar on this generation and their employment prospects.”

Speaking to HR magazine, Lewis urged people leaders to consider the benefits of employing diverse age groups.

He said: “Workers in their 50s and 60s bring a huge amount to the workforce, such as knowledge, experience and great people skills. We see tremendous benefit in having age diverse teams of both young and old working together. This leads to great diversity of thought and experience, but also improves overall workplace happiness.

“Over the last 10 years, the over 50s have been the driving force of economic growth, responsible for nearly 80% of all of the UK’s employment growth. Losing them early from the workforce means we risk losing essential skills and a key growth dynamo to help drive us out of this recession.”

Jamie Mackenzie, director at Sodexo Engage Topic, said it’s important that employers do not forget the value over 50s bring to the workplace.

He said: “They’ve had the years to build knowledge and expertise that can support both the leadership and wider team – particularly at a time when companies need to stand out in a challenging market.

“They are known to be more committed and loyal, so from a business continuity standpoint, it makes sense to not overlook this age group when recruiting. It’s also important to take a look at any biases currently in the system, meaning that older employees are at a disadvantage.”

The Centre for Better Ageing found in 2018 that nearly a quarter of businesses (24%) are under-prepared for the challenges of an ageing workforce, and only about one in five employers are actually discussing their strategies for managing these workers.

Mackenzie added: “To unlock the potential of employees regardless of their age, businesses must look at understanding how their current policies are meeting the needs of staff, so that everyone can come to work as their best self and be as productive as possible.”

MPs Criticised as Job Vacancies Reach Record Low

MPs have been accused of watching from the side-lines rather than stopping job losses by TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady. 

This was in response to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures which found the number of workers on UK payrolls was down 650,000 compared with March 2020. 

Vacancies in the UK in the last three months were also at the lowest level since the ONS Vacancy Survey began in April to June 2001, at an estimated 333,000.

This is 23% lower than the previous record low in April to June 2009.

O’Grady said the figures were a national disaster waiting to happen.

She said: “Ministers are watching from the side-lines, instead of saving jobs with targeted support for the hardest-hit sectors like retail, manufacturing and aviation.

“The more people we have in work, the faster we will work our way out of recession. If the government doesn’t go all out to protect and create jobs, the economic crisis will be longer and harder.

“We can create jobs by fast-tracking infrastructure projects. This would speed up the delivery of faster broadband, more childcare, green technology, modern transport and housing. And it would create over a million jobs across the UK.”

The largest falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and despite the numbers still falling, the rate of decline is slowing. 

The estimated employment rate for March to May 2020 was 76.4%, 0.3 percentage points up on the year but 0.2 percentage points down on the quarter.

This equates to 32.95 million people, 199,000 more than a year earlier but 126,000 fewer than the previous quarter.

Hours worked had reached record lows both on-the-year and on-the-quarter.

There are still a large number of people temporarily away from work, including furloughed workers, although this fell through May.

The ONS predicts half a million people are away from work and receiving no pay due to the pandemic. 

Kirstie Donnelly, CEO at City & Guilds Group, said the figures were a sign of the importance of providing training and jobs to those most in need. 

She said: “As well as supporting young people, we need to ensure that people of all ages, particularly those from lower socio-economic groups, or people displaced from industries badly impacted by the pandemic have the opportunities to gain the new skills they need to access meaningful employment.” 

Pay fell more in industries where furloughing was most prominent, particularly in typically low-pay industries such as accommodation and food service activities. 

Andrew Willis, head of legal at Croner, said HR should bear in mind the best methods of potential redundancy measures. 

He said: “Staff must be chosen in a fair and open way, preferably through a scoring criteria that focuses on attributes such as skills, experience and qualifications. 

“If more than 19 members of staff are to be made redundant, the employer will also need to implement a collective redundancy process. It should also be noted that furloughed staff can be made redundant at any point provided the correct procedure is followed.” 

The Job Retention Scheme, which was set up to protect jobs while businesses recover, will be wound down towards the end of October. 

Willis added: “It currently remains unclear what direction these figures will go in as the furlough scheme is wound down and employers lose the life jacket provided by the scheme. 

“That said, the government is committed to restarting the economy, with the hope that the general situation will improve going forward.” 

Government has attempted to incentivise employers to keep staff on until at least January 2021 by offering them £1,000 per employee if they can retain them until this time.