Rob Wye, Director of Strategy and Communications, Learning and Skills Council (LSC)

At the recent Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) conference at the London Hilton Metropole hotel, various representatives of organisations within the FE sector came together to discuss the best way forward. Prominent amongst them was Mr. Rob Wye, the Director of Strategy and Communications at the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), who shared his thoughts with FE News.

The discussion was very wide ranging, and covered lifelong learning, basic skills and Level 2 provision, the new Employer Training pilot's move onto the national plain, and the strict targets that have been set by the LSC. He discussed the issues raised by the co "“ operation of so many different agencies, and looked forward to the work ahead in the light of both the challenges and opportunities presented.

Basic Provision for Basic Skills and Apprenticeships

The discussion began with the question that had been raised earlier in the main conference hall, namely the Government's and consequently the LSC's focus on the provision of Basic Skills and up to Level 2 training for all. The interviewer raised the matter of the funding of the expansion of work "“ based learning packages and the often cited need to train up to Level 3 to have any tangible benefits to either the individual or to the economy.

Mr. Wye re "“ iterated the position that the achievement of Basic Skills and Level 2 qualifications were priorities for the present, and to that end the pilot schemes that have thus far been local projects (the Employer Training projects) would be expanded to become a nationwide system. He stated that, at the drawing board stage and as an idea for the future, there was a similar scheme for Level 3 training; but that this has yet to be fully developed, and also that this would require employers footing a greater share of the bill.

In this, Mr. Wye was echoing a feeling shared by many within the FE sector, that as employers stand to gain through a better trained more efficient and therefore productive workforce, they should be expected to contribute towards the cost of re "“ training. Employers would also realise the benefits, both of the Level 2 and the embryonic Level 3 Employer Training projects, if they were to more consistently release employees for training.

When asked about the position and future of apprenticeships within the sector "“ an area often overlooked to some extent "“ Mr. Wye announced that the LSC have set themselves ambitious targets on the number of people in apprenticeships this year. He also commented that there was a retention issue in apprenticeships, with learners often moving on or simply stopping and going back to work before they have completed their apprenticeship.

Union Reps and the ESOL Retention Issue

There has been an influx of immigration from the newly - admitted EU member states for the past several months, which raises issues regarding the provision of ESOL training. The question of employer contribution again came to the fore, and Mr. Wye acknowledged that there was sometimes a problem in finding the required level of sustained co "“ operation.

Mr. Wye stressed that providers would have to work with the LSC to better the provision, and shared the belief that, as a happy worker is a more productive worker, providing these basic life skills to an employee would definitely offer benefits to the employer. He praised the work of the union education representatives, many of whom now feature on local LSC councils, and looked forward to expanding that co "“ operation still further.

"I look down on him, and look down on him"¦"

As much as the FE sector as a whole is seen as the "Cinderella Sector", there are even within this internal shades of grey. One such is seen when looking at the esteem and funding issues between colleges and training providers, who both represent a large part of the sector. Mr. Wye agreed that there was a disparity in perception, comparing the situation with HE, FE colleges and Training Providers to the famous comedy sketch with John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. He has spoken with Mr. Graham Hoyle of the Association of Learning Providers (ALP) about this, and will continue his consultations on the matter.

Turning his attention to the debate surrounding sixth forms in schools and their disproportionate funding when compared with FE College sixth forms, he said that he agreed that this would have to be resolved. As the whole sector agrees on this, the first step in this direction can be found in the Agenda for Change.

Collaboration and Steady Development

One other recurrent theme at the LSDA's confernence, both in and out of the debating hall, was the need to encourage the co "“ operation between different learning providers thus affording the learner the best possible facilities. Mr. Wye pointed out that this was fairly well developed in a number of areas, such as Kent, Knowsley, and his own hometown of Northampton.

He acknowledged that this was not a nationwide picture, and said that some areas were still based on competition ahead of co "“ operation. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has issued its 14 "“ 19 strategy document, and Mr. Wye stated that co "“ operation between providers was at the heart of the 14 "“ 19 agenda. However, the LSC have yet to see what money will be allocated by the DfES for encouraging collaboration; until this becomes clearer, individual LSC councils will have to continue in the current manner.

At the Association of Colleges conference the previous week, Peter Lauener had presented the DfES 14 "“ 19 strategy to the assembly and admitted that on occasion "“ particularly in 2006 "“ they had set themselves some very difficult targets. When asked about the feasibility of this timeline, Mr. Wye said that, given the complexity of the FE sector, it was necessary to work backwards from 2015 (the last year covered by the Ten Year Plan) rather than plan forward year on year. And whilst the timeline was acknowledged to be ambitious, he believes it is achievable, stressing that it is better to get it right more slowly than to make mistakes through haste.

In closing the discussion, Mr. Wye moved back to the general perception of the sector and said that his aim whilst he is in his position is to enhance the reputation of the sector for stakeholders on all sides, so that everyone can recognise the importance of and the achievements of the sector.

We at FE News are very grateful to Mr wye for talking to us, and would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best in his work for the LSC.

Jethro Marsh

How ambitious is the DfES strategy? Tell us in the FE Blog

"

You may also be interested in these articles:

Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

Dyspraxia Lambeth had a status update on Twitter 15 hours 56 minutes ago

@ERSA_CEO @apprenticelsbu @Edu4sj_lsbu @milton_damian @QLMentoring @EdDavie @NancyDoylePsych @HWLambeth Fears ‘lost… https://t.co/HgFJWeC60R
View Original Tweet

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