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The Conservative Government’s Plans for FE
December 16, 2019

The Tories are to stay in power for another five years – so what will that mean for further education? By Kate Parker

General election: what do the Tories have planned for FE?
A £3bn ‘national skills fund’

The Tories pledged to invest £600 million a year into the fund, which it insists is “new funding on top of existing skills funding”. It expects this would be for a range of courses, including apprenticeships. 

In the manifesto, it says: “And our new £3 billion National Skills Fund, alongside other major investment in skills and training and our reforms to high-skilled immigration, will ensure that businesses can find and hire the workers they need.”

£1.8bn for college buildings

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced in November that the Conservative Party plans to invest £1.8 billion in a further education college rebuilding programme.

Mr Johnson said that the money would, over a five-year period, be used to make sure the entire FE college estate is in “good” – or category B  – condition by refurbishing and redeveloping existing facilities and purchasing industry-standard equipment. 

The manifesto says: “Just as universities have been transformed by significant long-term investment over the last few decades, we need to make sure local colleges are equally excellent places for people to learn. We are therefore investing almost £2 billion to upgrade the entire further education college estate.” 

It also states that, as well as encouraging investment in physical building and equipment, they will help employers invest in skills and look at how to improve the working of the apprenticeship levy.

The Augar review

The manifesto says that the Augar review made “thoughtful recommendations on tuition fee levels, the balance of funding between universities, further education and apprenticeships and adult learning” – and pledged to “consider them carefully”. 

Adult education 

On adult education – which featured heavily in both Labour and Lib Dems’ plans – the Conservative party pledged to “invest in local adult education and require the Office for Students to look at universities’ success in increasing access across all ages, not just young people entering full-time undergraduate degrees.” 

Prison service 

Although it’s not mentioned in the manifesto, the Conservatives did also announce plans to create a dedicated Prison Education Service focused on work-based training and skills in November. 

The policy is part of a programme of prison reform that the party says would “give better chances to offenders once they have been released, double the number of prisoners in employment six weeks after release and reduce reoffending”.

Under a Conservative government, the new Prison Education Service would oversee education and skills training across all jails. It would build upon the new prison education framework issued in April 2019 and “provide a new focus across the whole system on raising educational standards of all prisoners serving sentences in England and Wales”.

Kate Parker
Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a junior FE reporterTwitter: @KateeParker

Careers Strategy Published by the Government

As part of a new careers strategy, the Government will invest £4 million to help every school and college have a careers leader.

Their purpose is to make sure young people can access advice on the best training routes and up-to-date information on the jobs market. An additional £5 million will be provided for the Careers and Enterprise Company to create 20 career hubs which will link schools and colleges to local universities and employers with the aim of providing additional support and mentoring opportunities for disadvantaged pupils.

An email from the DfE Careers Unit

Dear colleagues,

We are delighted to confirm that today we have published the Government’s careers strategy.

Minister Milton launched the strategy today with a speech at the Careers and Development Institute Annual Conference in Solihull.

Please find here a link to the strategy document https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/careers-strategy-making-the-most-of-everyones-skills-and-talents and our press release for information https://www.gov.uk/government/news/careers-guidance-for-modern-country-unveiled.

Read more

SFA information on apprenticeship funding and the apprenticeship levy
August 30, 2016

The SFA have produced a number of videos providing information about Apprenticeships.

This video provides background information on apprenticeship funding and the apprenticeship levy.

You can find out more on: GOV.UK


Minister responsible for all ages of careers
August 29, 2016

Careers advice in schools has been added to the skills minister brief, as part of the machinery of government changes.  The Department for Education confirmed ministerial responsibilities after taking ownership of the further and higher education budgets in July. The announcement, as part of a ministerial shake up at the DfE, comes almost four weeks after Justine Greening was appointed education secretary – and three weeks after Mr Halfon tweeted that he had been given the apprenticeships and skills brief.

Mr Halfon will lead on careers education and guidance in schools, apprenticeships and the apprenticeship levy, funding for post-16 provision, FE and sixth form colleges and “local patterns of provision”, including area reviews and city deals. And spokesperson for the DfE this afternoon also confirmed that responsibility for adult careers advice and the National Careers Service will also fall to Mr Halfon – meaning that he is now the sole minister responsible for careers advice.  Previously the careers duty had been split between former skills minister Nick Boles, who led on adults careers advice and guidance, and Sam Gyimah, former junior minister for childcare and education, who was responsible for careers advice for schools.  …Continue reading


CIPD Policy Report – Where next for Apprenticeships?
August 29, 2016

The number of apprenticeships started in England each year has almost tripled over the past decade. The Conservative Government sees apprenticeships as a tool to increase national productivity and improve the wage and employment prospects of individuals. It has launched an ambitious reform agenda to deliver 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 – up from 2.4 million in the last parliament – and at the same time raise the standards of training and assessment.

Recent events – including Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the Prime Minister’s resignation, a ministerial reshuffle and the moving of post-16 skills policy from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Education – could lead to a shift in the direction of apprenticeship policy. However, the ‘post-16 skills plan’ published in July 2016 reaffirmed the commitment to these reforms and pledged further changes to raise college-based vocational education and better integrate the system as a whole (BIS and DfE 2016). The collection provides timely analysis to inform the direction of the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitments on apprenticeships under Theresa May’s leadership.

Written by a range of key influential individuals within the sector, The CIPD http://www.cipd.co.uk/ have published a report examining

  1. The aims and objectives of apprenticeship
  2. The philosopher’s stone? The case for national apprenticeship qualifications
  3. Employers and meeting the Government’s apprenticeship target: what could possibly go wrong?
  4. Unions and employers in the driving seat
  5. Sector-led approaches to raising apprenticeships: an employer’s perspective
  6. Why colleges and universities should be offering more and better apprenticeships
  7. University-led apprenticeships: a new model for apprentice education
  8. Lessons from abroad: the need for employee involvement, regulation and education for broad occupational profiles

To access the full report Click Here

New strategy to transform the quality of careers education, advice and guidance for young people
August 29, 2016

David Andrews from the International Centre for Guidance Studies at the University of Derby  http://www.derby.ac.uk/research/icegs/ has produced a strategy to transform the quality of careers education, advice and guidance for young people.

In the strategy, David highlights how,four years after the responsibility for securing access for young people to impartial careers guidance was devolved to schools, the government has announced that it will publish a strategy to improve careers education and careers guidance in schools. This will extend to more than the annual updating of the Statutory Guidance and represents an at least implicit acknowledgement that the new policy is not working sufficiently well for all young people.

In his paper, which is based on his experience of having been directly involved in careers work for young people for over 35 years, offers some personal suggestions about what should be included in the forthcoming strategy.

To access David’s paper Click Here

Apprenticeship Funding Proposals – August 2016
August 29, 2016

On 12 August, Government published further proposals on funding models for Apprenticeships. The video takes you through the proposals.

New Zealand – Tertiary career development benchmarks
August 29, 2016

Careers New Zealand http://www.careers.govt.nz/   is a Crown entity established under the Education Act 1989, and governed by a board that reports to the Minister of Education

At Careers New Zealand they define a career as being ‘the sequence and variety of work roles – paid and unpaid – that someone has over a lifetime’. Everyone has a career.

Thier role is to improve connections between education and employment, by using their expertise to support organisations and New Zealanders so they are making informed choices about their future employment.

They develop the capability of people in organisations who influence others, using information and tools to provide careers support to their children, learners, clients and staff. Organisations they work with include career professionals, schools and tertiary organisations, community groups, businesses and local government, welfare and support agencies who influence the career choices of others.

Careers New Zealand is focused on developing an effective careers system, one that provides for all people in New Zealand.

They have produced benchmarks which will aid the tertiary education sector to deliver quality career development programmes and services to their students.  These benchmarks are a self-review tool to provide tertiary organisations with guidance on what high-quality careers work is about. At the heart of the document is a description of the key career competencies that New Zealanders need for 21st century careers literacy.

To access the benchmark document click Click Here

The Careers & Enterprise Company Activity Toolkit

The Careers & Enterprise Companhttps://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/ is an employer-led organisation that has been set up to inspire and prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work. They  aim to help motivate young people, support them in making informed choices about their future and help them achieve against those choices.

Thier role is to take an umbrella view of the landscape of careers and enterprise, supporting programmes that work, filling gaps in provision and ensuring coverage across the country.

The company is committed to being evidence-based, building on ‘what works’, and taking a pragmatic view of regional variations in the careers, enterprise and employment landscape, adapting its approach as required.

They are supporting Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) https://www.lepnetwork.net/ to establish an Enterprise Adviser Network across the country. It’s a simple model that’s easy to manage and one that is agile, flexible and easily scaled to meet local demands.

The Enterprise Adviser Programme will create a network of brokerage between employers and schools, giving greater consistency and coverage than exists today. It aims to motivate young people, support them in making informed choices about their future and help them achieve their full potential, both in and out of school.

Employed or funded by Local Enterprise Partnerships, (LEPs), Enterprise Coordinators (ECs) will direct and manage a network of up to 20 Enterprise Advisers (EAs) who will each be matched with a school in their local area. Both the ECs and EAs will be drawn from the local employer community and each regional cluster will have a governance board with relevant local parties represented.

To access the Careers Enterprise Co Activity Toolkit Click Here

Good Career Guidance – Gatsby – Holman
August 29, 2016

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation commissioned Sir John Holman to examine what pragmatic actions could be taken to improve career guidance in England’s secondary schools. The report, – Good Careers Guidance 2014,  is about career guidance in English secondary schools, and how it could be made better. It concluded that

It concluded that good career guidance is important for social mobility because it helps open pupils  eyes to careers they may not have considered.

In Teresa May’s first speech as PM she talked about the importance of social mobility – so the findings within this report have even more importance than they perhaps did when first published in 2014.

To read the full report Click Here