Exclusive Articles


Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
The Association of Learning Providers (ALP) has been arguing since its inception in 2002 that greater integration of government employment and skills programmes is necessary to generate more sustainable employment for individual people. We were saying this when times were good and our case is even stronger now that times are tough.

Sometimes it has seemed like a lonely battle. Committees of MPs nodded sympathetically in the early years when we presented our arguments but it is only when Lord Leitch published his far-reaching review of skills in 2006 that we began to make serious headway.

The big obstacle to progress has been that responsibility for skills and employment has fallen under two different Whitehall departments. This was magnified by a culture within the Jobcentre Plus agency that promoted a ‘jobs first’ approach to dealing with clients which until recently has meant that the allocation of resources towards improving the skills of unemployed clients has been only a limited part of the available support.

Leitch’s call for a more integrated approach and the recent surge in unemployment has prompted a reappraisal of government policy, although we have yet to see much change at the ground level. ALP believes that much more needs and can be done. In a submission to DIUS and the DWP, we have called for a complete overhaul of strategy in the Government’s response to the recession.

It is now vital that future provision is radically repositioned to recognise that the reduction in available jobs - in the short term because of the recession and in the longer term because of the ever rising skill demands of the UK economy - is reflected in the core design of a revised strategy. In order to prepare long term unemployed and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants to move back into sustainable employment it is necessary that much of the bespoke personal and social support individuals will require is linked more overtly with the skill development that virtually every client will need.

Whatever the individual needs that each client may have, the common element as we move through the recession and back into long term economic growth will be the need to update, refresh and develop skill levels to ensure that they are attractive to and usable by employers. Whilst this will include specific vocational skills linked to particular jobs and sectors, there remains across much of the working population a broadly based requirement to carry on developing the generic employability skills ever more demanded by employers (teamwork, communications, problem solving, etc).

Furthermore, the old division of providers who were focused primarily on vocational/skill training, and providers who were expert in employability ‘training’ and job finding, is now obsolete. This reality must drive the search for the most appropriate and potentially effective contractors/deliverers for the new agenda.

Despite the reduction in available jobs because of the recession, it will still be important to maximise the amount of employer involvement as we seek to prepare people to re-enter the workplace, with appropriate skill levels, when vacancies start to pick up again as they undoubtedly will. This however will be a difficult task, and very hard to arrange across the board for a growing mass market of unemployed people.

ALP’s response is a radical new proposal to re-design a successful initiative utilised in a previous recession, update it and indeed improve and develop it to a significantly higher level of effectiveness. The historical element is the Community Programme so successful in the early ‘80s – a product of that economically difficult period. The programme created tens (probably hundreds) of thousands of real jobs, predominantly in the voluntary sector, undertaking tasks of general community benefit. Typical projects involved extensive work for the National Trust and other ‘environmental’ bodies, the development of previously unusable sites and buildings, gardening and domestic security installations for older people, etc.

The present element, capable of being added to and enhancing the original Community Programme initiative, lies in the availability of high quality, employer designed Apprenticeship training frameworks, increasingly being accessed by adult workers as well as the younger teenagers traditionally involved. The opportunity to offer high quality, relevant vocational skills for unemployed adults, linked to programmes of general community benefit, immediately ‘doubles up’ the potential value of such a programme and simultaneously upskills a large body of potential workers, ready for instant availability for employers when the economy picks up.

The element from the future encompasses the opportunity to incorporate high priority green and energy saving issues, which will not only bring immediate political and socially desirable benefits, but could also be positioned as a direct investment into future profitable ‘green enterprises’. We therefore propose a real work programme built around Apprenticeship frameworks, focused – in part – on the investment in and development of long term environmentally friendly projects. This is surely much better than to simply pay out an increasing amount of ‘deadweight’ benefits to an ever more demoralised and growing army of unemployed, whilst trying to find them increasingly non-existent jobs until (or for the lower skilled, even when) the economy has turned around.

Graham Hoyle OBE is chief executive of the Association of Learning Providers


Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Solvendis added a new event 19 hours

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training (Zoom Conferencing)

A provider’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) plays a critical role in its approach to safeguarding its learners, training its staff, providing...

  • Wednesday, 15 September 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing
Solvendis added a new event 19 hours

Level 3 Award in Education & Training (Zoom Conferencing)

  • Thursday, 23 September 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing
Solvendis added a new event 19 hours

Ofsted Inspection Nominee Training (Zoom Conferencing)

Within inspection, Ofsted invites providers to nominate a senior member of staff to act as the main link with the inspection team. Ofsted suggests...

  • Friday, 23 July 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing

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 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.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page