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What does it mean for FE skills training to finally be put on a pedestal, and given the applause it deserves?

Joe Crossley
SkillsWorld LIVE is back

Joe Crossley, CEO of Recruitment and Training Solutions Provider @QubeLearning believes exposing more people to skills led education and training, throughout their lives, will not only change how businesses employ individuals without traditional academic qualifications, but will also produce a significant shift towards a more equal and productive economy:

Lifetime Skills Guarantee

With the announcement from the Prime Minister on the introduction of the ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’, allowing education and training for all, throughout their lives, in 2020, the Further Education sector breathed a long-awaited sigh of relief.

This could not have come at a better time, as we see the gap between the rich and poor continue to grow, and social mobility appears harder. Unfortunately, this has meant the quality of an individual’s education varies, to a large extent, depending on the social class that they are born into, and more often than not, the higher the family income, the better the educational opportunities.

Historically, our education system prioritises academic achievement, yet many other skills and attributes that so many individuals possess, that are key in a professional environment, have not been given the same reverence as traditional qualifications.

With 34% of our Apprentices within the Health and Social Care industry between the ages of 24–40, and another 27% of them over the age of 40, we know the desire to work in a vocational capacity is there, and it is encouraging to see that age does not always present a problem.

Fairer recruitment processes

With a damaged economy, as a result of the pandemic, how we recruit and credit people’s merits is crucial to reducing the skills gap and boosting employment in our country. It is encouraging to see an increasing number of organisations adopting fairer recruitment processes and understanding the potential of all people, no matter what their backgrounds, implementing training programmes, such as Apprenticeships and Traineeships, which allow those lacking traditional qualifications to learn and expand their knowledge, within a professional capacity.

This is a positive step towards a more equal society that does not discriminate because someone does not match up to the perceived gold standard.  With the commitment of our government towards strengthening the relationship between employers and education providers, as highlighted in the recent Department of Education white paper ‘Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth’, it’s encouraging to see the FE industry gaining the recognition it deserves, and we hope to see significant growth in those wishing to retrain, upskill or switch careers at any point in their life.

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Unlocking the potential of jobseekers

Working in the education and business sector, across Retail, Business, Management, Warehousing and Logistics, and Hospitality, we see people from all walks of life overcome hurdles to enjoy personal and professional success, and it has got to be one of the most satisfying parts of my job. To stop looking at the CV, and start looking at the person, will reveal huge pools of talent, across the nation, that would otherwise be missed.

We want to break the tedious cycle of wealth opening doors for some, while slamming them shut in the faces of others, which is why we support talent, not just qualifications. To promote this, we have work centres in locations, such as Bradford and Bolton, where employment is low, but where we felt we could drive an increase. We have Qube Work-Fit, a division whose primary aim is to unlock the potential of jobseekers, and now 100% of our courses are online, to enable students to work in a remote format, through Qube Vision.

Investing time to train employees

It’s about developing skills, whatever stage you are in your career, looking at vocational and creative skills, rather than just academic status. Looking at the role Apprenticeships and Traineeships play is a fundamental objective. It will escalate employment statistics across all demographics and industries, such as engineering, where we currently have 0.2% of 16 year olds on an Apprenticeship programme, and 0% of Apprentices aged 24 and over.

Why is this? Employers are still not seeing the full benefit of investing time to train people and what it could mean for their business.

The attitude to the FE industry is gradually altering, and we can only continue to change thinking and hopefully create a more sustainable and equal society.

Joe Crossley, CEO of Recruitment and Training Solutions Provider, Qube Learning

Qube Learning is proud to be an OFSTED grade 2 (Good) Recruitment and Training Solutions Provider, that works with hundreds of Employers across the country, to deliver a range of training and qualifications to a multitude of Students.

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