Bids for funding totalling an estimated £1.6bn were made by non-levy paying employers in a ‘markedly oversubscribed' government procurement process for apprenticeship provision, according to FE Week. The process, put on hold earlier this month, offered a funding pot of just £440m. FE Week also estimates around a third of the 1,303 registered providers will not now as planned be able to offer training direct to most non-levy employers from the start of next month.
An innovative job-creation scheme serving the construction industry has seen its 5000th recruit find work in the sector after being launched nine years ago by Blackpool and The Fylde College, reports FE News. Student Owen O’Rourke joined building company AJ Wood on the site of a new police HQ project, thanks to Blackpool Buildup, a nationally recognised scheme that works with the local job centre and building firms to train and then find jobs for construction students.
The government has high hopes that the Technical and Further Education bill will get MPs’ approval and become law before pre-election purdah is expected to kick in on May 4, TES reports. Provided there is agreement on which amendments are included or struck out, apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon says he hopes the bill will not be delayed.
One of the amendments, originally tabled by former education secretary Lord Baker, would force schools to allow FE colleges, training providers and university technical colleges to contact 13- to 18-year-olds in schools about apprenticeships and technical education qualifications. The amendment is designed to stop over-zealous schools from protecting their sixth forms – and funding – by withholding information about routes into careers other than university.
Attempts to provide child benefits to apprentices’ families in another amendment to the Technical and Further Education bill have been blocked by Parliament, reports TES. Skills minister Robert Halfon said the cost would have been more than £200m. An apprenticeship, he said, is an actual job, offering high quality training, increased opportunities and leading in most cases to a further job once it was completed.
The FE and HE technology support organisation, Jisc, has just posted five essential guidelines for maintaining cyber security on its website: