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Further Education is growing. More and more people both rely on it for their education and training, and for their employment as trainers, instructors, administrators. With this series, Further Education Talks Back, we hope to give the thoughts and opinions of the people actually working on the front line of Further Education the attention they deserve.

In this light, FE News is delighted to welcome Steve Palmer, the Executive Director of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in Lancashire, to share his experiences in the sector and his belief in the role that FE plays in social inclusion.

Question: "How did you come to be in your current position?"

Steve: "I ran Enterprise Cumbria for 10 years prior to the LSC being set up. Enterprise Cumbria was the Training and Enterprise Council (TEC)/Business Link for Cumbria. The LSC was a radical evolution of what TECs were trying to do so it seemed a logical and fascinating progression for me. I applied for the job and was delighted to get it."

Question: "What first fascinated you about the FE sector?"

Steve: "From the word go I have seen colleges as being positioned where the Governments social inclusion agenda meets its business development agenda. England's 400 colleges are a superb resource for skilling individuals, strengthening communities and boosting employers" productivity. They provide excellent value for money and, in my personal view, the Government could make greater use of them."

Question: "How has the sector changed in the time you have worked within it?"

Steve: "There is more specialisation and collaboration between colleges. This is a welcome development as there is a lot of unmet need. Colleges are increasingly trying to grow the overall market rather than compete for their segment of it."

Question: "What is your fondest/proudest memory or experience from your time in FE?"

Steve: "Pruning our network of 45 Work Based Learning Providers (WBL) down from 45 to 25. This has given Lancashire a leaner and fitter group of providers who have helped us build a WBL offer that is perhaps the best in England for quality, value and relevance for young people and employers alike. Colleges deliver 35% of our WBL provision "“ none of them lost their contracts."

Question: "If you had to change one thing in FE, what would it be, and why?"

Steve: "Its reputation with opinion formers, employers and the media. FE is unfairly under-rated."

Question: "What do you see in the future, both for yourself and for the FE sector?"

Steve: "The inspection results of Lancashire's 13 colleges show them to be very strong. We will work with them to help them extend their influence and build their reputation by substantially increasing their resources from meeting employer's needs."

We at FE News would like to thank Mr. Palmer for his cooperation in this, and wish him all the best for his future endeavours. We share his belief in the role that FE plays in furthering social inclusion. Also, as a media organisation dedicated to changing the public perception of Further Education, we echo his thoughts on the sector's image and look forward to having a positive impact on the public's perspective.

Jethro Marsh

Talk back too in the FE Blog

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Latest Education News

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 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.

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.

Podcasts

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.

Events

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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