Just over a third of the UK’s working age population (17.8 million) have either never had workplace training or at least not within the past five years, according to a City and Guilds Group survey on the country’s skills shortages and productivity. The report reveals 31.3 million (60%) have skills that are at least 50% underused. The findings derived from a YouGov poll of 5,000 working-age people and research from labour market economists Emsi. The data shows people living in NE England have had far less access to training and progression in their careers compared to other regions. Across the UK people in lower socio-economic groups are less likely to have had training in the past five years (44%), compared with those in higher socio-economic groups (68%). Ironically, workplace training is highly valued by 77% of those who have received it, who say they have worked more effectively afterwards.
To enhance the technical education skills of almost 1,000 FE lecturers and educators at more than 120 institutions, WorldSkills UK, organiser of UK teams to international skills contests, has launched its own three-year Centre of Excellence project, reports FE Week. With £1.5m backing from national awarding organisation/charity NCFE, the venture will recruit five full-time training managers from among the current team of mentors preparing WorldSkills UK contestants; they will start working with selected educators (one from each provider that has successfully applied for a training place) from this September. Only colleges and other training providers that have 1000+ 16- to 18-year-olds on roll and meet other criteria may apply for one of 20 training places available during the centre’s first year of operation. As each of the five training managers will have a separate area of skills, lecturers from providers must come from the same discipline to take up a training place.
Colleges are being urged in a letter from education secretary Gavin Williamson to get involved with their local Towns Funds, a series of initiatives funded through a £3.6bn central government project launched last September and designed to help regenerate more than 100 towns across England and support further education and skills investment. The government pledges to provide up to £25m to back proposals for economic growth and an increase in skills levels by towns and communities that have seen far less growth than England’s major cities.
Groups of colleges are being invited to bid for up to £500,000 from a £9m government-backed ‘collaboration’ fund to help improve governance and leadership in colleges struggling in those areas, reports FE Week. The aim of the programme, scheduled to last 12 months, is to encourage successful colleges to spread expertise and good practice. To receive funds, successful bidders need to contribute 25% of the total funding received from their own budgets. Education secretary Gavin Williamson said a minority of colleges had been suffering from poor governance and leadership and here was a chance to help them move up the Ofsted ratings from ‘requires improvement'. But he added that the money would also go towards turning ‘inadequate’ colleges into ‘good’, and ‘good’ colleges into ‘excellent’. This programme follows the Strategic College Improvement Fund that was wound up last year after linking some 80 colleges with the lowest two Ofsted ratings with more successful colleges.