‘Grave concerns about leaving the EU without a deal’ have led apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton to resign her post and return to the backbenches. Milton took on the FE brief in 2017 just a few weeks after the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and the implementation of large-scale reforms of the apprenticeship system. Earlier she had served as Public Health minister and Minister for Women and was the first woman to be made Deputy Chief Whip.
Fresh calls for a massive government cash injection into 16-19 education come in a scathing report by the Commons Education Select Committee, according to TES. Committee chair Robert Halfon says FE must be central to a 10-year funding plan for schools and colleges, “including an increase in 16-19 funding for the first time in eight years”. The report found funding cuts had hit the FE sector hardest with per-student post-16 funding dropping by 16% in real terms since 2010. It stated: “These budget pressures are the result of political decisions that have had enormous impacts on young people’s educational opportunities and undermined attempts to tackle social justice.”
The first part of the national retraining scheme - a government scheme to prepare adults for future changes to the economy - has been rolled out as a pilot in the Liverpool City region, reports FE Week. Anyone aged 24 or more who does not have a degree and earns a low or medium wage may test the pilot’s digital course and job directory service. The scheme was first promised in the 2017 Conservative manifesto, backed by an initial £100m from the government. The plan is to launch the service nationally in 2020 after evaluation. Another part of the initiative is Get Help to Retrain, a private beta website that is now live and has been designed to help adults work out what existing skills they have. The site will then highlight suitable local functional skills courses in maths and English along with job openings.
More than 160 post-16 level 3 qualifications have been scrapped following a government review designed to weed out poor quality courses labelled ‘duplicates’ because they are said to overlap with A-levels, apprenticeships and forthcoming T-levels, TES reports. In his announcement, education secretary Damian Hines also said there would be no funding from 2020 for any new level 3 and lower level qualifications to help simplify a confusing system of more than 12,000 such qualifications.
From this November Jennifer Coupland will take over as chief executive officer at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. She is currently director of professional and technical education at the Education and Skills Funding Agency and has worked as acting chief executive of the Standards Testing Agency. Coupland was also deputy director of the Apprenticeship Unit for three years where she worked on the recent reforms. She replaces Sir Gerry Berragan who completes his two-year contract in November.