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ViewPoint by Anne Milton: We Must Encourage Schools to Promote Apprenticeships
February 6, 2019
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Too many providers are still being blocked from going into schools to talk about apprenticeships, despite enthusiasm from both employers and young people about the rewards they reap, says Anne Milton.

We need to work together to tackle negative perceptions among teachers and parents

Top of the list of priorities for any minister for apprenticeships and skills must be making sure people know about, and can get access to, great further education and training — that’s the way to get a good job, go on to further training or progress your career.

At the start of the year, lots of people – particularly young people – will be starting to think about their futures. And as further education and training providers, you are all playing a vital role in this.

I have visited lots of businesses across the country and met and spoken to many fantastic and talented apprentices. What’s clear is that more and more people are recognising the life-changing benefits apprenticeships can bring. I have seen the enthusiasm among employers grow as they reap the rewards that apprentices are bringing to their workplaces.

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ViewPoint: Adventures in Career Development
January 14, 2019
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The following blog is by  Tristram Hooley.

Where are we now? Reflections on career guidance policy and practice at the start of 2019

Towards the end of 2018 it felt like a lot of people were getting a bit frustrated with the speed of progress on career guidance in England. The State of the Nation report tells us that things are improving, but that there is a long way to go and that at present the progress isn’t particularly quick. Partially as acareer-pop-artresult of this, and partially in response to long standing concerns and grievances, some people started sharpening their knives on the current careers policy settlement. Robert Halfon gave an important and highly critical speech setting out what he though was wrong and many in the careers sector piled in behind him. Things are not good enough they argued, there is a need for change, let’s pull down the current system and get it right this time.

I’m in total agreement that the current state of provision in careers is not good enough. I also agree that things need to change. Where I break with some of the critics of the current order is that I believe that within the current system there are the seeds of a genuinely great career guidance system.

I wanted to spend this blog post reviewing where we are and considering what is good and bad about the current system, before going on to propose some ways forwards. But first two caveats. (1) I’m just going to talk about the career guidance system that exists in the secondary education system. I have written numerous times that I believe we need a cradle to grave, lifelong career guidance system. At the moment, this isn’t on the cards and so I’m going to park this part of the discussion until another blog post. (2) I know that no one is really making policy about something like career guidance until after Brexit is resolved – but let’s just pretend for now that it is possible that we will get a government again at some point. Read more

ViewPoint: By David Hughes – Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges
November 8, 2018
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By ignoring colleges, the Budget ignored the UK skills crisis Far from being a “People’s Budget”, the Chancellor failed to address the critical need amongst young people and employers for investment in colleges.

“The hard work of the British people is paying off. Austerity is coming to an end.” These were the words of the Chancellor as he introduced his Budget for “the strivers, the grafters and the carers”. I’ve even heard commentators talking about it as a “People’s Budget”. The problem, as always, is which people?

There are many other commentators who will pore over the tax and benefits announcements to declare how fair or otherwise the Budget was and who won and who lost. What I saw was a Budget that was more about politics and potholes than about the jobs, skills and life chances.

Any long-term view of our country will recognise just how important it will be to improve our education and skills investment as the weaknesses in our labour market become more exposed. Employers in private and public sectors have become reliant on skilled and semi-skilled people moving here to work, many from the EU. Nurses, teachers, engineers, construction workers, carers, shop workers – the list goes on and on. That reliance has hidden the misfit between our education and skills investment and the jobs that are available.

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A Canadian ViewPoint: Supporting Clients with Mental Health Challenges
October 19, 2018
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Career development practitioners should take a holistic approach, supporting their clients’ mental health while helping them navigate career planning By Derrick McEachern

Career planning is a mental-health intervention and a well-being practice. What people do each day shapes who they are and how they feel about their daily lives

People who are disengaged from their work, unemployed, undergoing a work transition or ambivalent about their career path may struggle to varying degrees with stress, uncertainty, low self-worth, anxiety and, in many cases, depression. However, government programs traditionally focus solely on employment: helping people find work using their current skills or retraining them in specifically targeted fields with a high probability of employment.

Well-being and mental-health research (Walsh, 2011) suggest a more holistic approach is necessary. There is a need for more comprehensive services that account for employees’ lifestyle factors and support employee engagement and retention while also addressing mental-health problems.

Well-being and mental health

In their book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, Tom Rath and Jim Harter document research conducted across 155 countries that suggests five interconnected elements are predictive of overall well-being. Read more

ViewPoint: Jim Carley on 3aaa
October 16, 2018
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There is a well-known proverb, which I am sure you know: “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” says Jim CarleJim Carley, Managing Director, Carley Consult Ltd

The Department for Education were arguably made to look like fools when Learndirect first started to unravel.

Barely a year later and the latest scandal to shake the apprenticeship sector is the sudden and seismic demise of 3aaa, and it looks like the Department may have been fooled again.

Police Investigation

It’s still not 100% clear what went wrong at 3aaa, and we may have to wait some time before the whole story is fully known.

Problems began over the summer when their latest Ofsted inspection, which many perceived would result in them sustaining their previous outstanding rating, was declared incomplete.

The latest allegation suggests that 3aaa had spent more than £1.6m on professional sports sponsorship between 2015 and 2018, despite making £2.8m in pre-tax losses in the 18 months to January 2018. Read more

ViewPoint: ‘The Heroic Leadership Model is False and Damaging’
October 10, 2018
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School and college leaders are facing huge pressure, which is taking its toll on their mental health, says Stuart Rimmer principal and chief executive of East Coast College

A few weeks ago, I was driving back from another late college meeting; it was the end of a 70-plus-hour working week and lists of unfinished jobs whirled around in my head.

We’ve had to grapple with plenty of major issues: a second merger in two years; Education and Skills Funding Agency intervention; post-Ofsted plans for the new term; a £30 million budget that only just balances; changes in the senior team; and disruption to staff through necessary, but rapid, change.

My headache was pumping and the fatigue was extreme: tiredness hung behind my eyes and thoughts began to quickly tumble out of control. My fingers started to tingle, my breathing got shorter and I was overwhelmed by a flood of emotions – of fear, sadness and helplessness.

I pulled over on a dark, deserted rural Norfolk road, placed my head against the wheel and fought to get myself back in check. After 10 minutes of “box-breathing meditation”, it passed.

It was the third time that month that this had happened.

Working in a senior role in a college or any large organisation means that you are subjected to a false, ongoing narrative of heroic leadership that we as leaders keep clinging to, and some other staff do, too. Read more

ViewPoint Humana: Let’s Retire the Word ‘Retirement’
October 8, 2018
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There is still a negative bias in how we view people over the age of 65. That needs to change because there is nothing but disruption on the horizon when it comes to ageing. Originally Published by Humana.

Work has changed in America, and our notion of work is evolving along with society.

Thanks to advances in science, from antibiotics to vaccinations, life expectancy in the U.S. has increased. In 1900 it was 46 years for men and 48 for women; it’s now 77 years for men and 81 for women.

Today’s work environment is less dangerous and taxing, thanks to a century of new safety laws, machines and computers that have transformed offices and factories. The demands on our lives and our bodies are not what they once were.

People also have more opportunities due to advances in transportation, with breakthrough ideas like ride-hailing apps and rapid light rail. Such options within cities are enabling many, particularly seniors, to get out of their homes more often. Read more

International ViewPoint: Injecting Hope into the World of Careers
October 1, 2018
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The following was written by Jim Bright, Professor of Career Education and Development at Austrailian Catholic University (ACU), and was published in The Sydney Morning Herald

Imagine if a school or college could offer the promise of moving students from mostly D grades to mostly A grades, could increase their engagement with learning and give them a clearer and more confident sense of their vocational identity. Too good to be true? Well perhaps not, according to a team of Canadian and US researchers who have made and connectedIllustration: Kerrie Leishman the missing links between career counselling and positive psychology.

Recently here I wrote about my concerns that some schools appear to have embraced positive psychology so uncritically that they have all but abandoned properly informed career counselling. I argued that this was an over-reaction. However, what I like about this North American research is the way that key concepts in positive psychology have been employed in the service of career counselling and education, rather than erroneously supplanting it.

Spencer Niles, Norman Amundson and Hyung Joon Yoon from William and Mary College, University of British Columbia and Pennsylvania State University have developed a hope-centred model of career development. The central notions combine hope, self-clarity, vision, planning and adaptability.

What sets this work apart is that they have conducted large-scale studies in educational settings linking these concepts to measures such as a person’s confidence in and clarity of their career interests, talents and personality. They also linked hope to student engagement – for instance, the degree to which a student spontaneously worked harder than they thought to meet a teacher’s expectations. Finally, they linked it to the very tangible measure of grade-point average – the number of As, Bs, Cs or Ds that a student is achieving. Read more

ViewPoint: Career Sleepwalkers
September 21, 2018
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The following ViewPoint was written by Josh Bersin, a global industry analyst covering HR, talent, leadership, and HR technology was published in Forbes.

As the labour market continues to tighten, employers are grappling with skills gaps and retention challenges that span the frontlines to the C-suite.

Ambitious employees jump from one hot company to another to stay ahead and get promoted. Frustrated staff move jobs search a better place to work. But churn may also be fueled by aimless workers moving from role to role — or company to company — in search of direction.

According to a recent report from LinkedIn Learning, a growing number of employees are “Career Sleepwalking,” with 37% of employees now claiming they have no sense of a career path. What’s worse, some 23% say they feel like they are “on a treadmill going nowhere.” The result? 80% of those under 24 would consider switching careers (function or industry). Read more

ViewPoint: Good Governance Must be Pursued by all Providers’
September 19, 2018
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What does good governance look like for independent training providers, asks Dr Sue Pember

When we see the annual summer education headlines on television and in newspapers – the GCSE exam results, back to school and university, etc – we can be tempted to make the mistake of forgetting the
ViewPoint:ongoing work of the independent sector, which works with employers, apprentices and trainees all year round. This is something we should correct.

Independent training providers are vital to the nation’s success and make up a significant part of this country’s skills provision and training, but often they only make the press when something goes wrong – and often this is a breakdown of governance. Therefore, good governance is key to achieving success, improving reputation and safeguarding the longevity of the sector.

In the world of corporate governance, achieving good governance is not a new pursuit, and debates as to what it looks like have been raging for many years; when it fails it can have dire effects on a company. So, like all essentially contested concepts, what we know and understand by the term “good governance” may never be fully understood, but it is now time to take that debate into the independent training sector.

Clear principles ‘are vital’ Read more

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