Supporting the next generation of tech talent
The pandemic has been a catalyst for change for many industr...

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Helping young people amplify their strengths for future success and happiness
The core principle of coaching (as opposed to counselling) i...

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What is the ideal model for success in the training sector?
The dynamics of the apprenticeship training sector are chang...

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Women Thriving in Tech and Defining the Scene
Most young people don’t know what they want to do when they ...

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Further and Higher Education; Better together
For too long, College or University, vocational or academic,...

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Steering self-directed learning to best equip employees for the future of work
In the world of work, skills are the number one currency. Fo...

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Preparing Young People for the Future
On July 1st and 2nd the Edge Foundation (@ukEdge) ...

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Ethnicity Pay Gap: Why mandatory reporting is important
Recently, in a letter to the government, the Confederation o...

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Supporting the next generation of tech talent
Helping young people amplify their strengths for future...
What is the ideal model for success in...
Women Thriving in Tech and Defining the Scene...
Further and Higher Education; Better together
Steering self-directed learning to best equip employees for...
Preparing Young People for the Future
Ethnicity Pay Gap: Why mandatory reporting is important...

FE Voices

New UCAS research shows strong demand for apprenticeships from students keen to keep learning in the autumn

Clare Marchant

More than three quarters (78%) of students who are getting their results next week, but do not plan to immediately start a three year full-time undergraduate degree, are interested in starting an apprenticeship according to...

All 16 and 17-year-olds will be offered the covid vaccine within weeks

All 16-17 year-olds will be offered their first covid vaccine within weeks at the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) Chief Executive of AoC, David Hughes said: "Today's announcement is a welcome step...

Featured Articles

Cecile Bonnet

Supporting the next generation of tech t…

Aug 05, 2021 / Exclusive Articles

The pandemic has been a catalyst for change for many industries. For the tech sector in particular, it has put the spotlight on the importance of digital skills and tech talent, and the role these play in the growth and resilience of businesses of all sizes. It’s no surprise that, according...

Video and Podcasts

Sir Vince Cable

Cable Comments: New podcast series launc…

Aug 03, 2021 / Podcasts

Coalition Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and former Lib Dem Leader, Sir Vince Cable (@VinceCable) today (3 Aug) launches Cable Comments, a series of interviews with leading figures from the world of politics and foreign affairs. First in the series is an encounter between Cable and former Universities...

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Sector News

New HEPI report considers when and how universities and policymakers should listen to students

New HEPI report considers when and how u…

Aug 05, 2021 / Sector News

A new collection of essays from the Higher Education Policy Institute (@HEPI_news) and with support from EvaSys, What is the student voice? Thirteen essays on how to listen to students and how to act on what they say (HEPI Report 140)edited by Michael Natzler, features contributions from student representatives, academics, a...

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With two major reviews of the Further Education sector on the horizon "“ in November, the much anticipated Foster Review will report on reform in the sector, whilst in March of 2006 the Treasury "“ backed Leitch Review will detail the anticipated skills required for a successful Britain in 2020 "“ the education system and the service it provides have rarely come under stricter scrutiny.

It has emerged that a great many Members of Parliament have lost faith in industry's ability to determine the skills required for the future, which calls into doubt the drive to bring more employers into the formulation of strategy. In addition, the Government's various skills initiatives, and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) strategy statement over the summer, have served to further develop the sector.

But what really needs doing? How far have we come? And how far do we still have to go in order to be all that Britain both wants and needs to be? In the second instalment of this two "“ part series, FE News reporter Sara Hashash looks at the OECD's report on the state of education and skills training.

Growing Trends in Education

The growing trend for education also extends to university education. More students than ever are studying for degrees in OECD countries although the growth has followed an erratic and inconsistent pattern that does not correlate between nations and is highly dependant on factors such as the flexibility of degree structures available in certain countries, the amount of competition, the number of universities in that country.

The growth in numbers of university students is hardly surprising in the UK, where the government has been placing pressure on students and schools to reach high targets of students studying for degrees. Some, however, would argue that far from improving opportunities and career prospects for a large number of people, such "forced" education may even have a negative impact on the value of a degree leaving graduates faced with greater competition and meaning that more attention is paid to issues such as the academic reputation of the institution attended.

Although today women account for 57% of university level graduates this figure varies significantly when seen in the context of the degree subject studied. Far greater numbers of women undertake degrees in humanities, health and welfare related issues, with 30% or fewer women graduates in mathematics and computer science, engineering, and manufacturing or construction.

The Profit for All Education Sector

Despite rises in university education levels, the report declares that investments in tertiary education are still extremely profitable both for the individual and society concerned. This extends from financial benefits as well as wider social and economic implications such as increased labour productivity for society, and improved mental and physical health for the individual. All but 4 of the 22 OCED countries with available data witnessed an increase in the earning premium for people who had undergone a university education compared with those who had merely completed secondary education.

Education is through its very nature a continuous process of development. Completing education to any level, whether secondary or tertiary, is a guarantee of greater success and employees must constantly supplement their education with further training and skills development courses. In order to maintain employability and a high quality of skills and services, post-employment training is provided for more than 40% of people in the labour force in the US, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland. However it is not deemed to be as high a priority in Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Hungary, where rates of employee training reach just 10%.

Problems Remain

However, problems remain concerning those to whom post-school education and training is least available. Although such opportunities are generally equally accessible to women as to men, it is the unemployed or people in low skilled or low income jobs that still face difficulty entering the sector. In all OECD countries, research shows that it is the higher skilled employees who work in large firms, the public sector and business services, banking or finance that are most likely to receive such training and education opportunities. Arguably these people are those who need it the least.

Accessibility to such courses and training sessions may also be determined by aspects such as the type of contract the worker has, the worker's age, rank within the company, and initial level of qualifications. Access is often limited for part time or temporary workers in a company, for employees in non-executive or unskilled roles and for older workers.

Yet another cause for concern is the large proportion of young people with low levels of qualifications who are currently neither working nor studying. This constitutes more than 10% of 15-19 year olds in France, Italy, Mexico, the Slovak republic and Turkey. OECD countries spend an average of around $7,343 per student per year throughout their progression from primary to tertiary education but these figures are not evenly spread.

In fact, a great imbalance exists between countries such as the US and Switzerland who spend around $11 per student at one end of the scale, contrasting starkly with the meagre $2 per student expenditure in Mexico and the Slovak Republic. A breakdown of the expenditure, however, varies greatly among the 5 countries with the highest spending levels per student. While the US and Switzerland provide the highest teachers" salaries in secondary level education, Denmark and Austria are among the countries with the lowest student to staff ratio.

Not Just About the Numbers

However, it is not all down to financial capability as there is no evidence that a higher level of spending will necessarily result in any improvements in the quality of education provided. Countries with moderate expenditure on education such as Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and New Zealand, still record high levels of performance by 15 year olds in key subjects.

Often success comes as the result of effective spending and investment. The way in which the costs of education are divided between public and private sectors is changing in several countries, with tertiary level educational institutions moving towards private rather than public sources of funding such as tuition fees. However, it is often the case that public and private shares in the funding of education do not correspond to the public and private benefits. A great example of this phenomenon is in Norway. Denmark, Germany and Austria, where there is a great disparity between private investments in the cost of early childhood education in comparison to that of tertiary level education despite its clear benefits to the private sector.

The OECD "Education at a Glance" report uncovers valuable and variable statistics prompting essential government policy discussions and reform. Most notably, progress needs to be made on improving access to education for those for whom it is still least available in order to ensure that every member of society has the opportunity to maximise their learning and skills potential.

Read the first part of Sara Hashash's excellent review of the OECD report right here at FE News.

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Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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