Responding to the announcement of the Youth Employment Initiative – a £170m programme to help young people into work across nine Local Enterprise Partnerships areas - Dr Fiona Aldridge, Assistant Director for Development and Research, NIACE, said:
NIACE applauds the Government for the steps it is taking in supporting millions of adults to be able to confidently and safely use the Internet, but would like to see an increase in funding for specific projects to make progress more quickly.
The Government’s new strategy to get 2.7 million more people online in the next two years gives important recognition to the need to address low levels of literacy as one of the most entrenched barriers to internet access. The support for better partnership working is critical in this area, as well as in other areas of lifelong learning.
David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said:
NIACE has published a special issue of its flagship magazine Adults Learning, examining the role of education and skills in tackling poverty and low pay.
With the majority of people experiencing poverty in the UK living in working households, there is an urgent need to rethink both our approach to tackling poverty and our approach to adult skills and growth. Growth, productivity, poverty and skills need to be seen as part of the same crucial agenda.
Working with Quick Reads, The Reading Agency, The National Research and Development Centre and the Library & Heritage Services, NIACE has developed a set of free supporting materials for Reading Champions including a downloadable toolkit and a three hour training module. Reading Champions can be any age and keen to promote reading anywhere that they work, learn, volunteer or socialise.
Sue Southwood, Quick Reads Project Manager at NIACE, said:
The new Transforming Lives Awards will recognise the skills, expertise and dedication of teachers, trainers and tutors who have inspired adults to use learning to change their lives for the better. Without this support, many learners believe that they would not have gone on to lead successful and rewarding lives.
NIACE is looking forward to working with the new Behavioural Insights Research Centre for Maths and English, which has been announced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The new Centre will ‘deliver an ambitious programme of research, exploring how behavioural science can help improve adult literacy and numeracy and how this can be scaled up and applied by UK government policy makers’.
David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:
NIACE has reacted to the speech on the further devolution of resources to Local Enterprise Partnerships and cities by the Opposition.
Tom Stannard, Director for Communications and Public Affairs, said:
NIACE is encouraging organisations to bid for funding as part of the new Apprenticeship Staff Support Programme (ASSP) to improve the quality of the delivery of Apprenticeships. The prospectus and application form are available online.
Organisations can bid for Phase 1 of the new Apprenticeship Staff Support Programme, which is looking for innovative, high quality proposals to develop and deliver professional support programmes, resources and materials. Proposals must demonstrate that they can be accessed, and used, by the wider education and training workforce engaged with Apprenticeships, and that they will improve outcomes for both learners and employers.
The UK economy will be under enormous strain, employers will not have the skilled workforces they need and people will be much poorer in retirement, unless urgent action is taken to support people to stay working longer. NIACE believes an important part of the solution is to provide all adults with Mid-life Career Reviews to help them think, plan and prepare in order to extend their working lives with confidence.
The Community Learning resources website - launched last September by NIACE, on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency - has been refreshed to reflect a number of improvements following consultations with providers.
Originally developed to help adult learning providers understand and adapt to the 2013/14 Community Learning reforms, the website gave registered users the chance to access all resources, join mailing groups and discussion forums, receive e-mail alerts about news, and provide feedback on the resources available.
Carol Taylor, NIACE Director for Development and Research, said:
The BIS Select Committee has praised NIACE for hosting an ‘invaluable’ event last week, showcasing the steps being taken to tackle low levels of adult English and maths by representatives of local government, employers and training providers in Leicester.
NIACE visited staff at all levels at education and training providers across the country, to find out how the Education and Training Foundation can effectively embed equality and diversity in everything it does to support sector workforce development.
The Equalities Consultation Pop-Up Tour took direct invitations from providers, who were also encouraged to check the online map of the tour so they could visit it when it was in their area. Debates on equality and diversity issues affecting the sector also took place in Gateshead and London.
The Pop-Up Tour was interested in the views of education and training providers on the following areas.
A new website to support community learning volunteers has been launched by NIACE, designed for anyone who works with and supports volunteers in community learning contexts, and volunteers themselves.
The Community Learning Champions National Support Programme website includes a wealth of information, materials and resources to share good practice and encourage adoption of the supported volunteer approach among community learning providers across the public, private and Third sectors.
Ahead of the national Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) Network conference, at which Chairman of the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP, Alex Pratt, was confirmed as the new Chair of the LEP Network, NIACE welcomed the appointment and is continuing to work with LEPs across the country.
LEPs have recently submitted drafts of their Strategic Economic Plans to Government, including proposals for using substantial devolved European Social Fund resources to support their skills strategies.
Steps being taken to tackle low levels of adult English and maths were highlighted by representatives of local government, employers and training providers at a Government inquiry event, organised by NIACE in Leicester.
Initiated and organised by NIACE, the event was part of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee’s Inquiry into Adult Literacy and Numeracy which launched earlier this year.
NIACE, in partnership with Ambitious about Autism, is supporting the delivery of new autism training for post education and training staff – details of which will be presented at an event in London on 31 March.
Recent developments in policy, research and practice on supporting adults who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, to access and sustain learning opportunities were shared at NIACE’s joint national conference with Homeless Link.
Responding to the Budget, David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said:
"As the economy picks up and despite some mention of skills, we were disappointed the Chancellor didn’t take more opportunities to boost ways for adults to increase their skills. The recent UKCES Employer Survey showed employer concerns about skills shortages and there are people, in work and unemployed, who need skills training to help fill those jobs. Apprenticeships will go some way to help address this but they are not the complete solution.
NIACE urged the Chancellor, George Osborne, not to ignore the vital contribution that skills training for adults can make to business productivity and economic growth. Ahead of the Budget, Tom Stannard, NIACE Director of Communications and Public Affairs, said:
David Hughes, the Chief Executive of NIACE and Graham Hasting-Evans, the Managing Director of awarding-organisation NOCN, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to officially confirm a strategic partnership covering support for Adult Learners’ Week and a particular focus on policy and development activity on learning for work.