As the Further Education sector continues to come to terms with the announcement from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) that they intend to cut 1,300 jobs across the country, different participants in FE have been making their views heard.

Gavin O"Meara is the Managing Director of Further Education Recruitment specialists, Chimeara Ltd., and spoke to FE News of his concerns for the future of the sector.

A Positive Spin?

He raised the issue of who will actually benefit from the cutbacks in the medium term. "Haysom [Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the LSC] has given a positive spin to the 1,300 job cuts, by justifying the cuts to save £40M for the good of the learners," he said. "But will these 1,300 job cuts actually help any learners? And will these cuts actually save any money in the long run? It would be interesting to calculate how much will be spent on outsourced services to replace these 1,300 job losses."

He also drew attention to the dissipation in the provision of choice to the learner that cuts could entail, saying: "These job cuts come at an interesting time. We have noticed a strategy by the local LSC's where they have drastically reduced the number of learning providers that they have allocated funding to. This strategy is very alarming as this has drastically affected the learners choice and specialisation. In some LSC regions this strategy has reduced the choice of learning providers drastically." (For an instance of this, please see the article conducted with Steve Palmer, Executive Director of the LSC Lancashire, where he refers to the pruning of Work based Learning Providers from 45 down to 25. This article can be viewed here.)

A Game of Monopoly Without Passing Go

He also points out the danger that a reduced number of training providers spells. "This strategy is causing a monopolisation of learning providers, reducing choice and the prospect of any niche specialisation for learners," he said. "Good news for colleges and large nationwide training providers, bad news for small and niche training providers, and our learners who are seeking very specialist skills, especially from a niche learning provider within their industry of choice."

At a time when the Sandy Leitch Review is seeking to establish the skills that the British workforce will require in 2020, Mr. O"Meara sees this as "a dark period for Further Education". He continued: "If we do not provide the choice of specialist skills to our learners "“ then this will greatly affect the British economy in 5, 10 or 20 years time." Breaking down the actual saving across the forty "“ seven local LSC centres, he noted that the saving is "a mere £851,000" in each case. He asks: "Is the potential loss of another generation of specialist skills and the subsequent loss to the UK economy really worth it for just £851,000?"

He stressed the need to provide the best possible range of choices to the learners of today and of tomorrow, in the face of ever greater competition from the growing economies in the global market which was mentioned by Chancellor Gordon Brown in his speech to the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Brighton only six days ago. "We are already struggling to produce and develop a skilled workforce compete with emerging economies in China and India, let alone our G8 competitors," he said. "Unless we provide and promote the prospect of specialist skills and education, the writing is on the wall for the UK to be left behind for not just years, but generations."

Jethro Marsh

So, how much are the future generations of Britian worth? Tell us how it all adds up in the FE Blog


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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.

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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 May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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