Featured Article


Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Last month it was revealed that Further Education laid claim to being the most successful sector in the UK education system. Figures show that the FE sector has exceeded government targets for participation rates and has improved quality of performance across the board.

However, while the FE sector is delivering effective education and training provisions for vast numbers of young people the sector has been let down by state funding.

In his budget the Chancellor announced an extra £250m to fund 54,000 extra sixth form and FE places. Whilst this is a welcomed development after the initial shock of the £200m shortfall this doesn’t go far enough to help the wide variety of 16-17 year olds that are not in full time education or training.

Currently up to 200,000 16 and 17 year olds are directly at risk of unemployment due to the recession. This includes those who are in jobs without training, jobs with employer funded training, employed apprenticeships and jobs with part-time education.

Of the three million unemployed expected by the end of the current recession it is estimated that 1.25m will be people under the age of 25. It was also announced that there would be a guarantee of a job or training with financial support for all young people; however, this is only available to 18-24 year olds who have been unemployed for over a year. This excludes vast numbers of young people aged 16 and 17 who are not in full-time education or training and it seems like these young people are the forgotten cohort of this recession.

In the report ‘Raising the Participation Age: Keeping it on Track’ from CfBT Education Trust, we argue that the Government needs to introduce a 16-17 Jobs and Skills Plan now both to address rising youth unemployment and to increase participation in education and training in preparation for raising the participation age to 18 in 2015. This plan should include recruitment subsidies for 16-17 apprenticeships, a 16-17 Youth Skills programme offering non-employed programme-led work-based learning opportunities and an expansion of Entry to Employment (e2e) and Learning to Learn provision for disadvantaged young people.

One of the major challenges in increasing compulsory participation in education and training to the age of 18 is to change the attitudes of many young people who would rather face unemployment than spend another two years in a school or college environment. Education and training providers need to develop and deliver new and innovative activities that are going to engage with and benefit a wide variety of young people.

The new 14-19 diplomas are the first step towards more vocational education options but their implementation has not been smooth and there are still concerns over their role in the education system. To engage with more young people there needs to be a choice; choice of the best mix of qualifications delivered by the best mix of providers. Simply developing new qualifications to be delivered in schools will not effectively increase participation; environment and setting plays a big part in the decision over where and what to study.

For this reason we need to look beyond traditional delivery methods used by schools and colleges, it is here that FE colleges are best placed to lead the way in new developments. A good place to start would be to undertake a review of youth training and youth unemployment programmes over the past 30 years. From this study it may be easier to identify programmes which work and things that need to be improved.

The 14-19 reforms have a big part to play in Raising the Participation Age (RPA). There needs to be a consistency in delivery and opportunity from the end of key stage 3 to encourage young people to continue through to further and possibly higher education. To establish this the Government should create a single national 14-19 funding stream to ensure that funding for this sector is fairly distributed between schools, colleges and less traditional methods of delivering education and training. Managed by local authorities this should include secondary school funding, FE funding, academy schools funding, apprenticeships and 16-18 specialist funding to minimise truancy under the RPA.

A 16-17 Jobs and Skills Plan will not only help thousands of young people who are at risk of, or already, unemployed, it will also open the gate for generations of young people to access the right qualifications and training for them from the best providers. We need to minimise the damage of this recession on our young people and establish provisions which in future will prove recession proof. The success of the economy will one day be in the hands of these young people and it is vital that even in these difficult times they are not forgotten about.

Tony McAleavy is Director of Education at CfBT Education Trust


Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


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.


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.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page