As the Association of Learning Providers holds its spring conference, the Government is urged to rethink Foundation Learning Tier.

Britain’s vocational learning providers are calling on the Government to rethink completely its proposed Foundation Learning Tier if it is to succeed in reducing the number of young people not in education, employment or training – the so-called NEET group.
According to the Association of Learning Providers (ALP), failure to properly address the issue will also make it difficult for the Government to achieve its target of 400,000 apprentices when just over 250,000 are currently training.
Last year, the proportion of young people in the NEET group began to increase again and the UK has one of the highest drop-out rates for 16 and 17 year olds in Europe. The Government admits that we need to see a “significant reduction in NEET” to meet the PSA target of a reduction of 2% by 2010.
The new Foundation Learning Tier (FLT) forms part of the 14-19 curriculum reforms which ministers published for consultation in March. It should offer attractive vocational and work-based learning routes to young people disaffected by the classroom, including a comprehensive strategy of the support available for young people and adults not yet capable or ready to engage in a full apprenticeship.
ALP believes that it does not. Vocational learning providers are concerned that government policy is instead hamstrung by a view that says reducing the size of the NEET group requires government-supported programmes based on qualifications first/qualifications only.
Providers delivering the successful Entry to Employment programme over the last three years have clearly demonstrated that the most positive outcome for a large proportion of the pre-level 2 qualification group of youngsters is getting them successfully ready to gain employment, with or without formal qualifications, on which their future skills development can then be based.
Speaking before the start today of the Association of Learning Providers annual conference in Nottingham, ALP’s chief executive Graham Hoyle said: “What is now urgently required is a comprehensive, skills-focused strategy, encouraging young people on to a range of government supported pathways that will flexibly balance the need for qualifications, skills and, critically, sustainable employment.”
As evidence in support of this alternative approach, ALP points out that only recently has it been properly understood that young people in supposedly low-skilled jobs have been converted in huge numbers into apprentices on the back of effective sales campaigns routinely practiced by training providers, who find these youngsters and persuade their employers of the benefits of converting them on to a full framework apprenticeship programme. This route probably accounts for over half of the 250,000 apprentices currently in training.
ALP believes that redesigning the Foundation Learning Tier does not need to be a lengthy or difficult project. However, simply putting young people on a qualification-orientated pathway in the proposed new framework as the only means of securing funding will not only be the wrong approach, but will ensure that many will stay outside of government funded options and have no destination other than to become a further addition to the NEET group.

Imposed costs must be cut to make Train to Gain a real success

Independent learning providers and colleges at the ALP conference recommended further changes to another government flagship training programme, Train to Gain, in order to make it more viable for providers and attractive to employers.
Pointing out that many providers, including colleges, are delivering the programme for employers at a loss, ALP stressed that it wasn’t asking simply for more funding, but for some unnecessary costs to be stripped out of the programme’s design.

Employment and skills agendas move closer together

Training bosses have welcomed recent policy changes announced by DIUS and DWP ministers that are linking government employment and skills programmes closer together.
ALP has long argued that securing sustainable employment for the long-term unemployed and people on incapacity benefit requires pre-, and often post, employment training for Jobcentre Plus clients. Jobcentre Plus and the Learning and Skills Council have now been tasked to enable more clients who have moved into jobs off New Deal programmes to acquire skills at work through the Train to Gain programme.
Graham Hoyle comments: “This is an encouraging development but over the longer term, ALP wants to see the Government adopt our proposals for a single professional employment and skills procurement agency serving the interests of several government departments – and possibly European and even lottery funds.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Westminster Forum Projects (WFP) added a new event 8 hours

Next steps for SEND provision in England - the SEND...

This conference will be an opportunity to discuss the future for SEND provision in England, following the expected publication of the Government’s...

  • Tuesday, 29 March 2022 09:00 AM
  • Online
Tina Morris has published a new article: Top Digital Solutions to Help Graduates Get Hired 9 hours 4 minutes ago

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