More than 1,000 students have registered as voters through a new student voter registration service launched earlier this year by Jisc, the FE and HE advisory body on technology. With a looming general election, the service could play a vital role in easing the registration for students living away from home. Registration rules require every eligible voter to register themselves individually. But Jisc says the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 has put the onus on universities and colleges to enable students to register, requiring costly and time-consuming extra work from academic registrars to set up a range of new systems and revising rules and practices around the collection of data. Students face either registering in their home constituency or - for those living away in another area and who do not wish to return home to vote - registering in their college’s constituency. If already registered at home, and yet not planning to return home to vote, students need to re-register at their place of study. Jisc hopes its online system will remove pressure on institutions and smooth the process, particularly for first-time voters.
Only just over 30% (52) of England’s 170 general FE colleges are offering pre-employment traineeships to those aged 16-18 who need help to prepare them to take up a job or apprenticeship, according to FE Week analysis of the latest government data. The publication quotes the Association of Colleges (AoC) as saying the poor take-up could be because the scheme has not been sufficiently promoted by the government. Some colleges suggest low numbers are due to lack of awareness and poor design. They cite difficulties in finding suitable unpaid work placements for trainees and a course structure not flexible enough to meet requirements of pre-NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Former skills minister Anne Milton said this summer she was reviewing existing provision with various government departments and was considering starting a new youth pre-employment programme (for 16-25s) this academic year.
Pre-election promises for FE sector support are coming thick and fast from education secretary Gavin Williamson, who said last week he aims to see England better Germany’s technical-vocational provision within the decade, reports FE Week. New initiatives would include every English region getting a minimum one new specialist maths free school for 16-19s, eight more institutes of technology and an advisory board on skills and qualifications made up of industrialists and labour market economists.
German has become the most popular foreign language requirement among UK employers, according to research by the jobs site Indeed, reports the Independent. German has pipped French to number one spot, with Chinese moving up to third. Brexit has led to fewer EU-based workers seeking jobs in the UK, while language learning provision in schools is weakening.