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Updated: 5 hours 55 min ago

Dramatic falls in learning require radical action

Wed, 26/11/2014 - 1:31pm

The introduction of adult learning loans for those aged 24 and over has led to a dramatic fall in the numbers participating in learning. This, alongside fewer adults participating in other learning, will severely impact the prospects for long-term economic growth and for people’s ability to progress in their careers and in life.

According to the latest figures published today, the number of adults participating in Government funded learning in 2013/14, when compared with 2012/13, show:

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'Perfect Storm' damaging economic prospects

Mon, 24/11/2014 - 5:33pm

Responding to the latest report – ‘Growth Through People’ - from UKCES, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“There has been a flurry of reports in recent weeks, all spelling out the same set of skills challenges for the economy, for employers and for people's career hopes. We now have a true consensus, with reports from the whole range of bodies including employers, unions, FE and HE, all adding weight to what NIACE has been saying from our work with learners and adults of all ages. 

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New English and maths qualifications need learner input

Wed, 19/11/2014 - 4:53pm

Responding to the announcement by the Skills Minister Nick Boles, that there will be a review of the best way to achieve and accredit maths and English skills, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“It is vital that the skills system works closely with employers to design English and maths qualifications that they value and recognise. But we also need to involve learners in that process. English and maths (and digital) skills are the bedrock on which people can build the other skills they need in work and in life. It is great news that the Minister has recognised their value and that he wants to raise the profile of maths and English qualifications other than GCSEs.

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BIS adopts NIACE Traineeship recommendation

Tue, 18/11/2014 - 1:41pm

NIACE’s recommendation that young people aged 19 – 24, who have a full level 2 qualification, should have the same eligibility rights to a Traineeship as those aged 16-18, has been adopted today by BIS.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE said:

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Skills Commission report supports NIACE's call for radical action

Mon, 17/11/2014 - 2:59pm

Today’s analysis from the Skills Commission – which warns that the UK’s system of training and skills provision is growing increasingly out of step with the needs of the modern economy - is further support for NIACE’s call for a radical new approach to skills training for the UK workforce.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

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OECD reaffirms NIACE’s concerns

Thu, 13/11/2014 - 3:08pm

Greater challenges to meeting future skills gaps and skills shortages have been highlighted by the OECD today.

In its report Skills Beyond School the OECD notes that England and Northern Ireland ‘stand out as countries where, relative both to other countries and to potential demand, there is limited provision of postsecondary vocational training, potentially leading to a shortage of mid-level skills’.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

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A coherent framework for higher level vocational education is crucial

Thu, 13/11/2014 - 1:40pm

NIACE is encouraged by the progress made in the last year to establish an outstanding vocational learning system in the UK, as highlighted today in the publication of One Year on Review, the update report from the Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning (CAVTL).

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SFA clarifies FELTAG 10% recommendation at NIACE conference

Thu, 13/11/2014 - 11:25am

The Further Education Learning Technology Action Group's (FELTAG) recommendation that ‘10% of learning should be online’ has left many providers feeling confused, but will be clarified by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) during their seminar at NIACE’s Digital Learning Conference at The Skills Show tomorrow.

There has been enormous interest in the FELTAG report and particularly the recommendation that 10% of learning should be through online delivery. Many providers, however, have expressed their confusion over what counts as ‘online learning’.

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Radical new approach needed in the workplace

Thu, 13/11/2014 - 9:54am

NIACE has responded to the British Chamber of Commerce Workforce Survey which has highlighted that 92% of businesses have identified a skills shortage in at least one area of their workforce.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

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A technological revolution in learning

Mon, 10/11/2014 - 5:01pm

The innovative and dynamic breakthroughs in technology that are transforming the ways people can learn will be the focus of NIACE’s activity at The Skills Show this year (13-15 November).

Joining NIACE at The Skills Show will be Maggie Philbin (the Chair of the UK Digital Taskforce and Chief Executive of TeenTech), BBC i-Wonder, Barclays Digital Eagles, The Lab at O2/Telefonica, National Numeracy and many more people and organisations who have created imaginative opportunities for adults to learn.

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PM stresses importance of lifelong learning

Mon, 10/11/2014 - 1:00pm

Encouraged by the glowing references made on the importance of lifelong learning, NIACE has responded to the Prime Minister’s speech at today’s CBI Conference.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

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Making Skills Devolution Work

Wed, 05/11/2014 - 9:11pm

A package of solutions to tackle the current employment and skills challenges – ageing workforce, skills gaps, low productivity, and youth and adult unemployment - has been launched by NIACE today.

The 2015 Localism Prospectus, which draws upon NIACE’s proven market capability in employer partnerships, skills, employment support and social inclusion across the entire post-16 landscape in employment, learning and skills, provides a support package to help build a better future for the employment and skills system and the people it serves in local areas across the country.

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Ten ways to improve Apprenticeships and Traineeships for 16-19 year-olds

Wed, 05/11/2014 - 3:49pm

Evidence which supports NIACE’s proposals on Apprenticeships and Traineeships was presented to The House of Commons Education Select Committee this morning. The session heard from researchers, officials and experts on the policy background and operational management of Apprenticeships and Traineeships for 16-19 year olds in England.

The Committee’s inquiry is looking into how well the current Apprenticeships and Traineeships systems are meeting the needs of learners and employers.  MPs and witnesses discussed the image and definition of Apprenticeships, pre-16 work experience opportunities and increasing employer participation in delivering apprenticeships and traineeships.

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New learning, new learners, new skills

Tue, 04/11/2014 - 4:02pm

Thirteen organisations including colleges, local authorities and charities, are today helping to test out NIACE’s new Citizens’ Curriculum. The organisations - which include St Mungo’s Broadway, Leicester College, Tomorrow's Women Wirral and Birmingham City Council - will be running pilot projects over the next 5 months to test and develop this exciting new approach. The results will mean more people are learning skills which are relevant to their lives, their needs and their work.

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Further devolution is a step towards NIACE’s new localism proposals

Mon, 03/11/2014 - 5:14pm

The devolution proposals announced by the Chancellor for Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which will give them the “power to re-shape and re-structure the further education provision within Greater Manchester”, are a step towards the new localism NIACE has called for in its Manifesto – Skills for Prosperity.

The new devolved powers would give Greater Manchester Combined Authority control of the Apprenticeship grant for employers (AGE) and enable them to co-commission the next phase of the Work Programme with DWP.

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New tools to help overcome learning barriers across Europe

Thu, 30/10/2014 - 4:24pm

New tools to help reach and empower under-represented groups of learners across Europe, have been published by the Outreach-Empowerment-Diversity (OED) network, which NIACE is a part of.

Participation in adult learning is still low in many European countries, especially among low-skilled and/or disadvantaged groups. The OED network works to increase inclusion and foster diversity in adult education. To help policy makers and adult educators to overcome barriers to learning, the network recently produced the following tools:

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Latest FE loan figures signal ‘collapse’ in learning

Thu, 30/10/2014 - 1:10pm

The latest further education and skills 24+ Advanced Learning Loans figures show that there have been 43,830, applications since 14 April 2014. This includes 15,330 applications during September 2014.

Responding to these figures, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

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Young people leaving care need more control over their futures

Wed, 29/10/2014 - 11:36am

More than one in three (34%) care leavers aged 19 were not in education, employment or training at the end of 2013, compared to less than one-in-five (18%) of all young people. In a research report as part of National Care Leavers Week, NIACE shows how if all care leavers have access to a more personalised Pathway Planning process, it will help them plan their education, employment and training more effectively and mean that fewer will miss out on getting the best start to their adult life. NIACE also urges that all Personal Advisers must be trained in Information, Advice and Guidance to increase access to local learning and work opportunities for care leavers.

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NIACE chief calls for broader debate on skills devolution

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 2:05pm

The recent Metro Growth report by the City Growth Commission gives a welcome and clear recognition of the central role that skills will play in our future economic success.

But the report misses the point on adult skills, says NIACE Chief Executive, David Hughes:

“The Commission makes the welcome and compelling argument that big investment in physical infrastructure needs to be matched by a similar level of investment in skills if we are going to achieve sustainable growth.”

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Inspire the world – 2015 Adult Learners’ Week nominations now open

Mon, 20/10/2014 - 3:30pm

Remarkable individuals, tutors, projects and employers who have used learning to transform their lives and the lives of others, are invited to be part of the country’s largest festival and celebration of learning. Nominations for NIACE’s 2015 Adult Learners’ Week Awards are now open - until 5pm on Wednesday 17 December 2014 - and NIACE is hoping for a record number of exceptional stories that illustrate the power of learning.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

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