Featured Article

featured

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

UK youth unemployment data for this quarter shows a 2.1% decrease on the previous quarter but at 16.9% for 16-24 year olds is still above that of the general population. Couple this with employers' views that the barriers to recruiting young people are a lack of appropriate skills (63%) and experience (61%) it is perhaps not surprising that devolved governments have commissioned expert working groups to find a solution to youth unemployment whilst addressing prevailing skills shortages within the labour market.

Scotland like the rest of the UK is committed to reducing the levels of youth unemployment and in recent months there has been a raft of announcements detailing current and future proposed strategies to effect positive economic and financial benefits whilst supporting improved attainment and increased employment of young people.

This month saw the announcement by Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing detailing that the NHS will recruit 500 new Modern Apprenticeships across the next three years and there is an expectation of a further pledge by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, to create 30,000 MAs in Scotland by 2020.

Cynics may believe that a key driver for these initiatives is the looming vote on Scotland's Independence and indeed in recent week's employment has taken centre stage of said debate. However, in January 2013 the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce was established by the Scottish Government and tasked with bringing forward a range of recommendations designed to improve young people's transition into employment.

The Commission recommended a 'culture shift' in the education system of Scotland leading to a parity between University and vocational training to enable more young Scots into work and thereby reduce the jobless rate which is almost double that of the average working age.

The report has highlighted that qualifications including Scottish Vocational Qualifications, 'Skills for Work' and Modern Apprenticeships are crucial if Scottish youth unemployment is to be effectively reduced. Currently the college sector involvement in the Modern Apprenticeships programme is predominantly via subcontracting of training to varying degrees dependent upon the individual employer. Looking to the future, there is a desire from within the college sector for an increased scope in the apprenticeship programme with a view to ensuring a minimum level of training and increased consistency in terms of quality of experience.

The inconsistent quality of apprenticeship experiences and lack of advanced level routes has been acknowledged as an area for improvement, despite 87% of apprentices stating they were satisfied or very satisfied with their apprenticeship. Within the UK more generally with Dr Martin Allen and Professor Patrick Ainley from the University of Greenwich recently stated that the majority of apprenticeships are 'low skilled' and 'dead end' and a recent report has found that 14 % of apprentices were receiving no training at all. However, Matthew Hancock, the UK Minister for Skills and Enterprise, explained that the government is focused on improving the quality of the apprenticeship scheme and has stripped out nearly 200,000 apprenticeships that don't meet 'tough new standards'.

Similarly, a commitment to ensuring high quality apprenticeship provision in Scotland is echoed in the Wood Commission report with the recommendation that Education Scotland assumes responsibility for the programme, enabling the development of an external Quality Assurance programme. Thus, there appears to be consensus regarding the need to improve quality; implement minimum standards and ensure consistency within apprenticeship programmes across the UK. As yet there has been limited comment on the potential mechanisms for embedding, creating and sharing standards and training materials to realise this. So the question is how can this be done? How can these improvements be made?

The Government's aspiration to increase the amount of content delivered online to 10% by the end of the 2014-15 academic year, and to 50% by 2017 highlights the value and benefits associated with online resources particularly when shared effectively via repositories, hubs or other digital platforms and could possibly be the solution.

Open technologies can provide learning tools, systems and aids that are standardised and accessible to all in any location. These include:

• Workflows – that support an automated review process enabling resources to be quality assured by subject experts

• Targeted resource discovery systems – that enable efficiencies and enhance user experience

• Accessible and mobile friendly interfaces – which mean the potential for any place anytime access for users

• Digital repositories - which can be an effective means for sharing and accessing quality digital resources.

One example of where this type of system is currently working is Jorum, the largest repository in the UK and an instrumental feature of the Jisc FE and Skills Window. This project is creating a Digital Window to enable simple, flexible and easy to navigate routes to Jisc digital content, allowing learners access to the same materials and opportunities.

Alternatively, it may be that a more bespoke solution, possibly modelled on the Education-Net online resource website, is required to ensure both efficiencies and quality of training materials are standardised and available for Modern Apprenticeship programmes.

Regardless of if these suggestions are the solution, I certainly believe that technology holds the answer to improving apprenticeships and ensuring that all gain the same standard of education and support whilst training. We are certainly working hard at Jisc-Mimas to find an answer and lead on a future development which will encompass all elements of further education, vocational learning and apprenticeships.

Susanne Boyle is senior manager learning, teaching and professional skills, project director -Jisc FE and Skills Window Jisc-Mimas, a part of Jisc


Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

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.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page