So what to look out for next? The government’s many shake ups within the education system have definitely rocked the boat in 2010. The Work Based Learning sector has seen many changes, with inevitable impacts for those working within it. The most notable of these was the government’s decision to put the final nail in the Train to Gain coffin, whilst also committing to a increased investment in Apprenticeship schemes. On a delivery level, there have also been emerging and growing courses, such as the increase in BIT/ PMO delivery, in response to the economy’s recovery from the recession and the new STLS courses. But what will really be the area to watch in 2011 for those within the education & training industry?
With unemployment at an all time high of 2.5 million, having risen 24.3% since 2008, the government is pledging to get our unemployed back on track. It is indeed an exciting time for the Welfare to Work sector and therefore The Work Programme is one initiative that I feel those within the Education & Training sector need to watch.
As you will probably know The Work Programme is aimed at supporting the most vulnerable people and helping them break the cycle of benefit dependency. It represents a big change for Welfare to Work in this country and tries to create a structure that treats people as individuals and gives providers greater freedom to tailor the right support to each individuals needs.
Once contracts are awarded and programmes finalised later this year, the Work Programme will undoubtedly create an influx of jobs within Welfare to Work. It is clear there is a lot of scope for those qualified and experienced within Work Based Learning to move into this sector. This will not only help bridge the gap between employability and skills, which is needed in order to get people into work, but will suit those who would relish the prospect of using their training, coaching and assessing experience to help those who need it the most.
Those who are prepared to take on the challenge of up-skilling individuals who haven’t voluntarily signed up to be helped, will become increasingly valued and will be playing a vital role in getting the UK economy back on track.
Whilst there are a number of talented individuals who are already experienced within the Welfare to Work sector, our feeling is that the industry will also require new entrants in order to successfully deliver the programme to the increased numbers that will be put its way. Attracting talented newcomers may prove difficult as there are no clear routes into the Welfare to Work sector. It is not a well-publicised or aspirational career choice and is one of those industries that people almost fall into. In many cases, assessors, tutors and trainers within the Work Based Learning industry who are looking for a new challenge and have the inherent ability to help those furthest removed from the workplace will be highly qualified for the jobs.
We need to give this sector our full support and expertise in order to help drive our youth forward and succeed in getting society back on track.
Anton Roe is operations director of Alderwood Education, the training and education recruitment agency