If, like me, you have worked for some time in the Education, Employment and Skills sector you'll appreciate the frustration I feel when I see wheels being reinvented (again) and lessons failing to be learned (or forgotten) from past experience and practice. In circumstances where the funding to support interventions is becoming increasingly difficult to attract my grievance is getting incrementally greater! We talk about "innovation" but we can rarely define what we mean. We are often wasting limited resources on activities that aren't evidenced to work, don't have sufficient impact and might even be doing more harm than good. The flip side of this is that good stuff is going on but we don't have a sufficiently robust mechanism to know where this is, what this is and how best to share it.

It's time for change and there are some green shoots emerging to suggest that, at last, the nettle is being grasped. The Learning and Work Institute, Nesta, DWP and the Cabinet Office appear to be making some progress towards creating an "evidence centre" of research for the sector (much like NICE in the medical context) and the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) has recently launched its Knowledge Bank, encouraging its members to share best practice. The new FE News site is all about enabling the sector to come together, share positively and spot innovation. This is all good progress and to be encouraged.

However, access to knowledge isn't fairly available or accessible:

If you represent a prime provider (at a relatively senior level) your access to knowledge about "what works" for our customers is much easier to access than if you are a small community based charity or social enterprise. You will probably be a member of ERSA or AELP or both and benefit from their exceptionally valuable updates, you will be a regular attendee at conferences, you'll have a ready-made network of peers to bounce your ideas off and DWP/BIS may invite you to participate in working parties to co-design provision.

If you are a practitioner, working with our beneficiaries "at the chalk face", your opportunities to share the things that work and new ideas are more limited. If you aren't yet a member of the IEP I highly recommend that you join. A membership fee of £40 - £70 per annum (tax deductible) is money very well spent on professional development. See http://www.myiep.uk/

If you are a grass roots "micro" provider the chances are that you haven't heard of AELP, ERSA, IEP or any other membership or interest group and if you have you probably can't afford the membership fees and joining costs of the conferences and events where knowledge is shared and new ideas discussed.

I am a founder director and one-time Chair of both ERSA and the IEP and until recently a long-time director of Inclusion and it saddens me that, despite much effort and the best of intentions, the delivery and dissemination of knowledge across our sectors remains so exclusive to those who can afford to receive it.

The times are ripe for change. As we enter in to the new waters of the Work and Health Programme, and providers have no alternative but to work with the customers who are the most marginalised and distanced from work, it will become increasingly (commercially) essential for "prime" providers to engage with the community-based organisations who know where these beneficiaries live, the challenges they face and already work across the spectrum of interventions that ultimately support them getting in to sustained work.

These community organisations need their own mechanism to gain visibility to the primes, to share their own experience and expertise, learn from others and to have their own access to professional development and networking opportunities. In this way we think the process of inclusion for individuals, families and communities will be assisted and speeded up. Responding to this need my colleague Tracy Fishwick and I have established WhatWorksInclusion.

In brief. WhatWorksInclusion is a membership "hub" based around a website that will enable small organisations who lack resources to access, shape and share best practice and become a collaboration of like-minded operationally-active organisations and individuals. Replication and scaling of provision will be enabled by the sharing of what is working well (and what is less effective) in their specialism through a collection of evaluations, reports, evidence and latest thinking available in an accessible "inclusive" format. The website will be supplemented by learning and sharing opportunities - ranging from local debates, webinars, round tables, "pop-up" events and conferences – always with the emphasis on relevance, affordability and accessibility .

We are currently moving in to the design stage of the project working with community-based charities and social enterprises as Design Partners – co-designing the provision to ensure we create a resource that has the impact and outcomes we are aiming for.

We don't see any of the aforementioned knowledge sharing initiatives as mutually exclusive. Ultimately we should all be working together, in a strategic way, to ensure that our entire workforce across the wider education, skills and employability sector has the very best resources and support to hand, in whatever way it works with jobseekers, of whatever age or demographic, through which ever programme, and however distanced its customers are from work.

To quote Kofi Annan:

"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family."
Let's take that to heart, share the knowledge and break free..!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is the founder of Bright Sparks - she can be contacted on 07590 112912 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. can be contacted on 07769 670753 if you would like to know more about WhatWorksInclusion

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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 Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 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, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

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.


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.

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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