Apprenticeships in England suffer if they are trumpeted both as the 'prestigious' route to acquiring specific skills and also as a means of promoting social inclusion, according to research by Oxford University and the World Innovation Summit for Innovation, reports FE Week. Researchers warn against apprenticeships being seen as ‘magic dust’ that can used to solve any training problem, or being offered to any young person. However, they applaud the push for apprenticeships at graduate level. The speed of technological change could lead to businesses building up more skills 'in house' and so the advent of higher-level apprenticeships could be well-timed.
Kaiya Swain (22) from Sussex Downs College has led the UK team home at the World Skills Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE, by lifting gold to become the world’s best young beauty therapist. Her medal was one of 20 won by the UK team, which also won three silver – Archie Stoke-Faiers (22) from Weymouth College for architectural stone masonry, Daryl Head (21) from Thatcham Automotive Academy for car painting, and Catherine Abbott (21) from East Berkshire College for visual merchandising – plus three bronze and 13 medallions of excellence. The event hosted around 1,300 skilled young people from 60 countries competing in 51 skills. The next championships will be held in Kazan, Russia, from August 18-23, 2018.
Hundreds of apprentices are approaching the end of their courses without any end-point assessment (EPA) procedure in place to allow them to be properly tested before qualifying, according to FE Week. Government figures indicate this affects some 790 apprentices who began working towards standards in the 2016-17 academic year. FE Week quotes the Institute for Apprenticeships as saying 99% of apprentices due to finish within the next year are covered by EPA. Currently, 61 out of 194 approved standards are still without a final EPA body.
The number of FE colleges allowed to charge the maximum £9,250 for HE tuition fees in 2018-19 has risen to 13, according to Office for Fair Access figures, reports TES. Another 13 institutions aim to set their rate at £9,000 for some HE courses. Around 85 FE institutions are charging more than £6,000 – an increase of 23 from 2016-17. Critics say fees disadvantage less well-off students, those only able to study part-time, and mature students with family or caring responsibilities or with learning difficulties. One college principal said reasons behind the rise could include the cost of FE’s traditionally smaller classes, stronger tutor support, and more taught course hours than is normal in universities.