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MPs to Launch Inquiry into Benefits of Lifelong Learning and Local Authority Support
July 11, 2019

A new inquiry into the current state of adult education and lifelong learning is being launched by the House of Commons education select committee.

Former apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon (pictured), who chairs the committee, will make the announcement during a speech at an event hosted by the Centre for Social Justice in London tomorrow.

A spokesperson for the committee said the inquiry is “going to be looking at the benefits of life-long learning to the economy and individuals, and also how improving adult skills can promote social justice”.

It will also be “examining the level of support available to learners from local authorities”.

Halfon will say in his speech that while it might not get the same attention as other “big-ticket items in Westminster”, poor access to lifelong learning is “one of the great social injustices of our time”.

Warning of an “enormous wave of lost opportunity about to come crashing down on the next generation of employees”, he will say it is a scandal that lifelong learning is out of reach for the millions already most disadvantaged in society.

“Lifelong learning is a more affluent person’s game,” he will tell the Centre for Social Justice.

“Those who might benefit most from adult learning and training – low-skilled people in low-income work or the unemployed – are by far the least likely to be doing it.”

Another potential problem, according to Halfon, “is the numbers of people undertaking community learning have dropped – from around 650,000 in 2011/12 to around 500,000 in 2017/18”.

He’ll say that while “just over half of those in higher socioeconomic groups engaged in learning in the last three years, just 26 per cent of people in lower groups did.

“Adult learning should be a lifeline for the shocking number of those who left school ill-equipped to grapple with the rough and tumble of the jobs market … around nine million working adults in England have low literacy and/or numeracy skills. Yet in the last ten years just 17 per cent of low paid workers have moved permanently out of low pay.”

Before announcing the select committee’s inquiry into the current state of adult learning, Halfon will say the UK lags behind other wealthy nations in spending on lifelong education, and a recent study by the Social Mobility Commission shows England’s adult skills budget “fell by 34 per cent in real terms between 2010-2016”.

Halfon will call for an adult community learning centre to be put in every town in the country, and a top-slice of the existing £60 million support fund – which is meant to specifically target those living in deprived areas – for apprenticeships and use this to support more organisations like the WEA, the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education.

Halfon will also propose increasing tax incentives both through Corporation Tax and by ensuring increased benefits for employers investing in training people with lower skill levels.

“Only by recognising this crisis and taking urgent actions to reverse it can the UK avoid today’s divisions multiplying because those with most to gain from lifelong learning continue to be the ones with the least access to it,” Halfon will say.

A spokesperson for the WEA said the inquiry into lifelong learning announcement is “very welcome”.

“Grassroots community based learning is a lifeline for many in our most deprived communities,” they added.

“As working lives get longer and we all need to keep pace with change to live full and active lives, lifelong learning becomes more and more vital.”

The select committee is inviting written submissions addressing the following questions: 

  • What are the benefits of adult skills and lifelong learning (ASALL) for productivity and upskilling the workforce?
  • What are the benefits of ASALL for social justice, health and well-being?
  • What role can local authorities/combined authority areas play in ASALL provision?
  • To what extent is the range, balance and quality of formal and informal ASALL education adequate?
  • Who currently participates in and benefits from lifelong learning? 
  • What lessons can the UK learn from abroad?

The deadline for written evidence submissions is 15 August.

75% of Traineeships Lead to Apprenticeships or Jobs
June 26, 2019

A new achievement rate measure will be introduced to boost transparency around traineeships, according to the government

Three-quarters of young people who complete a traineeship go onto start an apprenticeship, further study or get a job within 12 months, the Department for Education has said.

The number traineeships fell for the first time in 2017 and, at the time, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) urged the government to take action to save the programme.

Traineeships are an education and training programme aimed at helping 16- to 24-year-olds to prepare for an apprenticeship or work. They were launched by the coalition government in 2013.

The DfE has announced that a new achievement rate measure will be introduced for the academic year 2019-20 in a bid to boost transparency and highlight the progress of trainees.

The measure will help the government to monitor the effectiveness of the traineeship programme, and assist young people in making decisions about their futures.

In order to encourage more people into traineeships, the government is providing £20 million through the Adult Education Budget for further education and training providers.

‘A positive step’

Apprenticeship and skills minister Anne Milton said that traineeships were a great way of giving people of all ages and from all backgrounds the opportunity to learn new skills and go on to have successful careers.

“I’m thrilled that this report shows how traineeships are supporting young people to start their apprenticeship journey, get their first job or go to further study,” she added.

“This new measure we have launched today will also provide greater transparency and help young people make informed decisions about their next steps.”

Mark Dawe, AELP chief executive, said that the announcement was a positive step towards reinvigorating traineeships, and encouraging more young people to take advantage of the programme.

“AELP particularly welcomes the separate measurements of achievement confirming the programme’s original objectives of progression into an apprenticeship, job or further education.  

“In the light of this, we will be urging providers to seriously take a fresh look at traineeships with a view to increasing the number of opportunities available,” he said.

David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: 

“It is important that we do not lose the stepping stone programmes that allow people to progress to the levels of competence that employers are seeking. These changes will help recognise the many positive outcomes from traineeships which colleges are helping to achieve,” he said.

Skills on the Move
November 5, 2018

The following blog was shared by DMH Associates. 

Migration has been at the centre of political debate across the OECD in recent years. Drawing on data from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), this report provides new evidence on differences in migrants’ characteristics and contexts and considers how these relate to the skills migrants possess.

It also examines the relationship between migrants’ skills and their labour and non-labour market outcomes in host countries. Finally, it sheds new light on how migrants’ skills are developed, used and valued in host country labour markets and societies. Results and lessons gleaned from analysis highlight the way forward for future research on this topic.

The report represents an invaluable resource for policy makers across different sectors as they design and implement strategies aimed at promoting the long-term integration of foreign-born populations in the economic and social life of their countries. The analyses presented allow us to identify the skill composition of foreign-born populations, the labour market and broader social outcomes associated with such skills, and the factors that can promote skill acquisition and skill use. Read more

National Retraining Scheme For Adults: £100 Million In The Chancellor’s Budget
October 31, 2018

The following article was written by Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE

The Chancellors’ Budget (October 2018) allocates £100 million for the first phase of the National Retraining Scheme (NRS).

This will include “a new careers guidance service with expert advice to help people identify work opportunities in their area, and state-of-the-art courses combining online learning with traditional classroom teaching to develop key transferable skills.”

I suspect this will focus on work with adults in the workplace. Lots of questions about how this might fit into the current careers landscape in England?

In 2012, the new all-age National Careers Service originally had a clear agenda to provide universal careers support services deep in local communities and businesses. The budget circa £105m was mostly for adult career guidance. Over the next three years, funding for area-based Prime Contractors working with priority groups is circa £45m.

Read more

Devolution of Adult Education Functions

Memorandum of understanding between DfE and combined authorities, for the transition period before adult education functions are devolved.

From the 2019 to 2020 academic year, some adult education functions of the Secretary of State will be transferred to specified combined authorities.

The 6 combined authorities are:

  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  • Greater Manchester
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Tees Valley
  • West Midlands
  • West of England

Read more

Maintained Stability in Provider Allocations

ESFA has continued to ensure stability in allocation statements for the 2018 to 2019 funding year, which have now been issued to their providers.

On the adult education budget, we continue to maintain levels of investment. Grant provider block grant allocations are rolling-forward from 2017 to 2018 and contract for service provider allocations are being increased from 9-month to 12-month values. Where applicable, we are also consolidating run-down funding into contract for service baselines too. In all cases, allocations will include any growth awarded so far this year. To ensure providers can deliver adult education budget provision with confidence, we are committing to fund 3% over-delivery at the end of the 2018 to 2019 funding year for all providers.

For advanced learner loan facilities providers, baselines have been calculated using full-year delivery in 2016 to 2017 and increasing it by 3%. We have then applied rules reflecting decisions made at performance-management points this year.

To ensure advanced learner loan bursary funding is targeted effectively at the providers that need it most, for the first time, we have linked advanced learner loan bursary allocations to full year 2016 to 2017 delivery and applied an increase of 3%.

For 16 to 18 traineeships, we have used 12-months of delivery (6 months from 2016 to 2017 and 6 months from 2017 to 2018) to calculate allocations. We have then applied a 3% increase and applied rules reflecting decisions made at performance-management points this year.

For apprenticeship providers who have apprentices that will still be in learning on 31 July 2018, carry-in allocations will be calculated using R10 data submissions. This allocation will be worked out by using our standard carry-in methodology and will be issued in July 2018. We encourage colleges and providers to submit full and timely data at R10 as this will improve the accuracy of the carry-in allocation we work out for colleges and providers.


View the Recording Here on Gov.uk