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ViewPoint: The Apprenticeship Levy – If Rationing is to be Introduced, Let’s Get it Right
April 5, 2019
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There has been recent scrutiny about the forecasted overspend of the levy. UVAC has been predicting this for some time and now the Institute (IfATE) and the National Audit Office have confirmed this is an issue writes Mandy Crawford-Lee, Director of Policy and Operations, University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC).

We are now in a situation where ‘proposals’ for a way forward are being put forward, so here is a view from the perspective of an organisation that wants the levy to be used to raise productivity, enhance social mobility and support the delivery of high-quality public services.

Bizarre Proposals: We’ve had some fairly curious proposals on how to manage such an overspend.

AELP has called for an end to using the levy to fund level 6 and 7 and degree apprenticeships.

So as UVAC has said on many occasions, it is the case that AELP wants to stop police forces using their levy payments to fund the police constable degree apprenticeship to train new police officers and prevent the NHS from training new nurses through a degree apprenticeship. Read more

ViewPoint: How Should Providers Interpret the ‘new’ ESFA Guidance on Prior Learning?
March 20, 2019
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It is an add-on rather than an update – and could be an attempt to claw back funding or scare providers into discount pricing, says Simon Ashworth, Chief policy officer, Association of Employment and Learning Providers

Earlier this week the ESFA published guidance on the recognition of prior learning. It’s important to note this is additional guidance, rather than specifically new or updated funding rules. With apprenticeship funding now finally acknowledged as running in short supply, there may be more emphasis on how providers account for prior learning in order to claw back funding or scare providers into discount pricing.

Ten years ago the sector experienced a crackdown on providers claiming additional learning support. A few providers were made an example of and others quickly scaled back their financial claims but continued to offer the additional support while not getting paid for it. Let’s hope we don’t see a repeat of the latter.

The previous iterations of the funding rules were much more specific about tackling “embedded qualifications” with fixed rates of funding reductions that governed the apprenticeship frameworks, which were all built around qualifications. Read more

ViewPoint: Top Tips for Recruiting the Best Apprentices
March 14, 2019
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With the end of the academic year approaching, recruitment for apprenticeships is likely to be the focus of many L&D managers. FrancesFrances Nicholson NicholsonHead Of Operations at National Skills Academy for Health,  shares her views on “how to get the cream of the crop”.

Be modern, social and mobile friendly
The young people of today have grown up in the digital age and are incredibly tech savvy so you need to engage with them through online platforms. You can reach out to the post-millennial generation through social media rather than simply relying on the Find an Apprenticeship website.

Use your recruitment strategy to try to engage people who might not have even considered apprenticeships yet. Link your social media posts to your careers site so prospective candidates can find out more about the culture of your organisation. Read more

ViewPoint: Markets Aren’t the Panacea for Public Services
March 6, 2019
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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

ViewPoint: ‘It is Time We Start Listening to Teenagers on Careers’
February 28, 2019
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Educators, employers, parents and the government must take note of teenagers’ views, writes Bev Jones, joint chief executive of the Career Colleges Trust.

New research published on 26th February 2019 suggests that nearly a third of teenagers in Britain are worried about “where their education is heading” and feel that the next few years may be a “waste of time” for them.

This is disappointing, particularly at a time when many industries are growing rapidly and new and exciting career opportunities are on offer for young people locally, nationally and internationally.

There is often talk about the skills gaps and the fact that young people are not prepared for the world of work – but is it any surprise when teens themselves feel that their education is focused primarily on league tables and academic grades? Read more

ViewPoint: How a Holistic Package of Support Can Improve Students’ Outcomes
February 20, 2019
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The following by TARA BLISS APPLETON Head of welfare and support, Saint Edmunds Society, Norwich was published by FEWEEK.

 

Building welfare support into post-16 provision is crucial to improving retention and achievements, says Tara Bliss-Appleton.

The Saint Edmunds Society has offered vocational training since 2012 to young people who have struggled in mainstream education, to help them to develop meaningful trade-specific skills that will open doors to further training and employment.

We soon realised, however, that skills training was not enough. Disengagement from mainstream education is often driven by personal circumstances such as permanent exclusion, bullying, family breakdown and sometimes substance misuse. Our students presented with a range of barriers to learning, including anxiety, low income, and limited literacy and numeracy skills.

Read more

ViewPoint: Apprenticeships Are The Answer To Falling Uni Numbers
February 18, 2019
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Develop Training Limited (DTL), a leading provider to the utilities and construction sector, says apprenticeships can meet many of the challenges thrown up by falling university numbers.

Many commentators have blamed high tuition fees for a growing number of young people choosing not to apply for university, raising fears of a lack of social mobility. But DTL points out that school leavers give other reasons too, including that they don’t enjoy studying or don’t think they have the necessary academic skills for university.

The training company says that apprenticeships have the capability, not just to provide an alternative to university but also to address the wider issues

Operations Director, John Kerr, says: “Instead of racking up student debt, apprentices earn while they learn, and apprenticeships provide other ways of learning for those who aren’t suited to academia. At DTL, we specialise in practical training for high earning roles in utilities and construction. Yes, there is an element of classroom learning but for most of our apprenticeships, the focus is on learning through well-supervised, genuine on-the-job experience.”

Mr Kerr says that apprenticeships can also generate social mobility, even beyond what might be expected from gaining a practical qualification and a well-paid job. He explains: “As an organisation that believes in providing a holistic educational experience, we support many young people who have fallen behind with academic learning.” Crucially, he points out, that includes ensuring that apprentices attain satisfactory levels of literacy and numeracy.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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