News at a glance
Don’t miss your chance to shine
Colleges and other FE providers have one more week to submit their entries to this year’s TES FE Awards - the deadline for entries has been extended to 22 July. After last year’s inaugural awards attracted more than 200 nominations, this year’s ceremony will take place in Birmingham as part of a link-up with the Skills Show. Entries can be submitted in 13 categories that recognise outstanding provision in all aspects of FE: colleges, work- based learning providers, adult and community learning providers, offender learning establishments and specialist designated institutions. To find out more about how to enter, visit www.tesfeawards.co.uk
Squad selected to prepare for WorldSkills glory
The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) has announced the members of Squad UK, the young people in line to represent the country at WorldSkills Leipzig in 2013. After last year’s WorldSkills competition in London, hundreds of FE students have been competing to win their place at next year’s international event in the German city. Categories include skills such as mobile robotics, cooking and architectural stonemasonry. The squad was chosen following a series of three-day selection events across the country, and members will spend the next year preparing with the support of a dedicated training manager. Following further selection events, the UK team for the event will be finalised. NAS director Jaine Bolton said: “I offer my warm support and congratulations to every young person who has earned a place in Squad UK.”
Colleges and apprenticeships ‘deserve equal footing’
Colleges should be regarded as key to reducing unemployment and promoted with “the same vigour as apprenticeships”, a new research paper by the 157 Group of influential FE colleges argues. The paper calls for a review of existing financial support arrangements, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, with the aim of creating a “fair and effective” support system comparable with that in higher education. It also recommends reforming the FE curriculum, giving colleges greater freedom to respond to local demand and greater funding flexibility to react to the needs of business. “We need to continue to acknowledge and reinforce the vital role that colleges have to play in upskilling and reskilling people to harness their potential, ensuring that young people have good skills, including literacy and numeracy, and the competencies they need to succeed at work,” said Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group.
Work-related learning dropped despite opposition
The government’s decision to press ahead with plans to scrap the legal duty to provide work-related learning in key stage 4 has come under fire. In spite of 89 per cent of consultees opposing Professor Alison Wolf’s proposal to ditch work-related learning - which includes work experience, mock interviews, enterprise competitions and talks by employers - the government has decided to implement the change from 1 September. Jan Hodges, chief executive of Edge, a charity that promotes practical and vocational learning, criticised the “very disappointing outcome”. “We need to ensure that ‘learning by doing’ is valued equally with academic learning, and that all young people develop skills such as teamwork and problem solving,” she said.