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Updated: 10 hours 55 min ago

Innovation Code gives boost to learners, providers and employers

Wed, 28/01/2015 - 10:16am

The Innovation Code – which allows providers to develop a qualification while delivering the course - is increasing employer engagement in the skills system and helps providers be more responsive to the needs of both employers and learners.

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Call for nominations and events for VQ Day

Wed, 28/01/2015 - 9:51am

The eighth annual VQ Day from the Edge Foundation – a key partner of the Festival of Learning – has launched with a call for nominations and events today, alongside research illustrating how many people underestimate the potential earnings of vocational occupations.

VQ Day – held on 10th June 2015, as part of the Festival of Learning - celebrates technical, practical and vocational learning and achievement. Last year, hundreds of colleges, schools, learning providers and employers got involved by hosting events.  

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Improvements to Functional Skills ‘vital for learners and employers’

Tue, 27/01/2015 - 10:10am

The improvements that awarding organisations are making to current Functional Skills qualifications have been highlighted in a report published by Ofqual today.

These changes, Ofqual believes, will make sure that the qualifications are high quality and that standards are consistent. Ofqual wants Functional Skills qualifications to better reflect the achievements of students and more effectively meet employers’ needs.

Responding to the report, NIACE Chief Executive, David Hughes, said:

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NIACE backs 'soft skills' campaign

Tue, 13/01/2015 - 6:00pm

NIACE, alongside a host of other organisations – including McDonald’s, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Association of Colleges and the National Youth Agency – are today launching a campaign to promote the importance of soft skills.

The Backing Soft Skills campaign will focus on how skills like communication, teamwork and time and self-management are not only vital in helping people to get on in life and in work, but are also essential for high-performing and successful employers. Research shows that soft skills are worth £88bn to the UK economy. 

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

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Focus of Apprenticeships must be on quality

Tue, 13/01/2015 - 12:31pm

Responding to the announcement that the Government has pledged to give employers direct control of funding for the training of apprentices, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

"We applaud the Government’s ambition to make Apprenticeships absolutely focused on the labour market of today. Employers are the key investors and therefore giving them more influence over the design and delivery of Apprenticeships is right. It is complex to get this right though and I am pleased with the caution about how quickly a simple system can be established.

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New 2015 Quick Reads available for pre-order

Mon, 12/01/2015 - 4:39pm

Six new Quick Reads for 2015 due for release on 5 February are now available to pre-order from the NIACE bookshop. This year’s line-up includes Man Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle, bestselling psychological thriller writer Sophie Hannah, and romantic novelist Jojo Moyes.

Linda Dixon, NIACE's project lead for Quick Reads, said:

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Step-change in loans 'not happening'

Thu, 08/01/2015 - 4:02pm

Responding to the latest data on 24+ advanced learning loans applications, published today, David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said:

“Over the last 5 years more than 500,000 people have missed out on learning and skills - which supports them in the labour market - because of reductions to FE funding. The introduction of loans has played a significant part in this.

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Recognition for FE and skills in New Year’s Honours list

Tue, 06/01/2015 - 1:35pm

David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said:

“It’s pleasing, once again, to see further education and skills being recognised in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list, helping to highlight the many personal, social and economic benefits it brings. I’m particularly pleased that Dawn Ward, Principal and Chief Executive at Burton and South Derbyshire College, received her well deserved OBE. As Chair of NIACE’s FE Advisory Group, Dawn also works tirelessly to highlight and tackle inequalities in learning and empower individuals from under-represented groups to take control of their lives and realise their potential.”

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Government introduces career reviews for over-50s

Mon, 22/12/2014 - 2:18pm

Responding to the announcement that the Government is to introduce a series of measures – including career reviews - for unemployed people aged over 50, David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said:

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Latest figures reinforce NIACE call for Apprentice Charter

Thu, 18/12/2014 - 3:29pm

One in seven apprentices, over 120,000 people, are being paid less than the appropriate minimum wage according to the latest figures from two reports.

The reports – the Apprenticeship Evaluation – Learner Report and the 2014 Apprentice Pay Survey Report - show that:

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Nominations closed for 2015 Adult Learners' Week Awards

Wed, 17/12/2014 - 5:06pm

Nominations for the 2015 Adult Learners’ Week Awards have now closed and NIACE thanks everyone who has taken the time to share stories about remarkable learning and learners.

The rigorous short-listing and selection process will take place next and NIACE looks forward to sharing the stories of the winners in June 2015. The national and regional Adult Learners’ Week Awards will be presented to a range of learners, tutors, projects and employers.

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Cross-Government action essential to address low literacy and numeracy

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:30pm

Commenting on the Government’s response to the BIS Select Committee Report on adult literacy and numeracy, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“I’m pleased that the Government shares the BIS Select Committee’s appreciation of the urgency of the situation. Far too many adults in this country have limited life chances because they don’t have the opportunities they need to improve their English and maths. This has a huge impact on them, their families, our society and our economy.

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National Colleges - an important step towards parity

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 1:18pm

Responding to today’s announcement, by the Business Secretary Vince Cable, of four new national colleges to help the UK develop world-class skills in the advanced manufacturing, digital, wind energy and creative industries, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“Greater investment in the development of higher-level vocational skills through four new employer-led national colleges is an important step in helping place vocational training on a par with higher education. As is the announcement of maintenance support for vocational learners.

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Sector needs flexibility to deliver new GCSEs

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 9:57am

The post-16 education sector supports the Government's ambition to promote GCSEs as the national standard of English and maths but needs a flexible environment to successfully implement and deliver these new qualifications. This is the headline finding of an implementation consultation carried out by NIACE on behalf of BIS and DfE.

A range of stakeholders from across the sector - including FE colleges, independent training providers, awarding organisations and employers - also stressed that:

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Learners must retain option for unit-based learning

Tue, 09/12/2014 - 11:09am

Responding to the news that the QCF is to be scrapped next summer, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“Adults make the most of opportunities when they can learn flexibly and in ways that match what they want and need to learn. This announcement by Ofqual does not prevent qualifications retaining the accessibility, affordability and flexibility of unit-based delivery but it does remove the requirement. We will work with Awarding Organisations and learning providers to make sure that they recognise the demand and the power of a unit-based offer, particularly up to Level 2. We know through our work that this has been particularly effective for unemployed people and offenders and will work with adults who want and need to get back into learning.

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Autumn Statement falls short on pay, skills and productivity challenge

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 3:24pm

NIACE believes the plans for long-term economic growth, as detailed by the Chancellor, require significant improvements in our skills base. However, investment in and learning by adults over 25 is falling and today’s Autumn Statement has fallen short in addressing that challenge.

The Autumn Statement included the following measures:

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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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