The Technical and Further Education Bill proposals were published today.
The bill builds upon measures set out in the government’s post-16 skills plan, developed in response to an independent report from an expert panel chaired by Lord Sainsbury. It includes the proposal to extend the role of the Institute for Apprenticeships to cover technical education. This move will mean the institute, which was set up to be the ultimate decision maker for approving apprenticeship standards, will now ensure that all technical training available to young people and adults is of the highest quality and based on the needs of employers.
A new insolvency regime to protect the interests of students
DfE is working with colleges, through the area reviews programme, that in the event that a college becomes insolvent in the future, a new regime will be introduced to ensure that learners will be protected. Ensuring that disruption to the learner’s studies are avoided or minimised as far as possible. At the same time, the insolvency regime will address the current absence of any provisions for college insolvency, giving creditors certainty for the first time about how their claims will be dealt with.
Focus on good quality technical education and information sharing
A new measure to require colleges and local authorities to continue to share information such as data on results. With the aim, that this measure will ensure that information is still shared with the government to inform policy decisions and benefit learners.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon:
“I am clear that to build a country that works for everyone, each part of the education system needs to deliver for our young people. High-quality technical and further education is not only vital in opening up doors to young people in some of the hardest to reach areas of the country, it also helps local businesses get the skilled workforce they need to drive up the productivity and economic growth that our economy needs.
“The reforms in this bill are fundamental to the government’s vision of ensuring all young people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential”.
Commenting on the Technical and Further Education Bill, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said:
“We are pleased that the Government is continuing to take forward the measures outlined in the Post-16 Skills Plan with the Technical and Further Education Bill.
“The move to incorporate technical and professional education in the remit of the Institute for Apprenticeships reinforces the need for coherence between the workplace and colleges.
“This will help to ensure that young people are able to obtain clear guidance on career progression and benefit adults who want to train in their current job or retrain to progress their career.
“We will continue to work with the Government and the new Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to develop the new post-16 structure for technical and professional education.”
Speaking following the introduction of the Technical and Further Education Bill, Labour’s Shadow Further Education and Skills Minister Gordon Marsden said:
“It looks like, stung by criticism of the potential negative effects on students of some of their rushed area reviews in FE and recent failures in the sector, such as the West London Vocational College, the Government are cobbling together material already in their skills plan with promises of student protection in this new bill.”
“Despite fine words about technical education they have left the FE sector, not least with their cuts in ESOL and Adult Skills funding, in quite a perilous state. We have been urging the Government for some time to spell out their technical plans in legislation so now they are promising to do that we will scrutinise it very carefully.
“FE Colleges, students and providers need protections that are robust but not micro-managed via Whitehall civil servants who don’t have the background or resources to do so.”