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Articles from Andy Durman

Offender Learning Reform and the Importance of Local Labour Market Insight

With OLASS 5 set to kick off in Q1 of 2018, education and training providers involved in offender learning will shortly be looking to write their bids for the new contracts. The procurement process is expected to broadly follow the recommendations in the Government’s 2016 White Paper, Prison Safety and Reform, and so it is perhaps a good time to remind ourselves of what was contained in that report, relating to education and training.

T-Levels and Student Engagement: a Win-Win-Win Situation

Although the Government’s decision to delay introducing the first T-levels will have brought a something of a sigh of relief among many in the sector, with the decision only affecting the first two pathfinder routes, the stay of grace could be seen by providers not so much as a reason to put off implementing a T-Levels strategy, but rather as a welcome opportunity to make sure that they really are ready for them when they come in. After all, in planning terms, 2020 is still not that far away.

Employability Day 2017: An Overview of Britain’s Disabled Workforce

In just a few months from now, the Government will be launching its new welfare-to-work scheme, the Work and Health Programme. The scheme is intended to provide specialised employment support for both people with disabilities and the long-term unemployed, but the Government’s expectation is that the majority of those referred to the Programme will be those who are classed as disabled.

Getting to Grips with the Challenge of T-Level Work Placements

Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been doing a lot of work around T-Levels, much of which has focused on demonstrating how the routes can be mapped to local labour markets. Over the past few weeks we’ve been reaching out to colleges – both clients and non-clients – to test our ideas out and to find out how the sector is dealing with some of the challenges that T-Levels are presenting.

How Careers Information can Direct People to the Right Training and Redirect Them to Better Career Options

I wrote recently about the danger of careers information getting lost in the seemingly never ending changes being imposed upon colleges. In the conclusion to that piece, I said that the key to making sure careers information doesn’t fall off the radar lies in seeing it as an integral part of the overall college mission of “training people in the skills employers really need, to foster economic growth and sustainable employment.” In this piece I want to continue this theme, but this time looking at it from the angle of why it is crucial that young people are made more aware of what the skills needs of employers in their region actually are.

Why Careers Information is an Indispensable Part of Your College's Overall Mission

Every organisation that is faced with upheaval will have a tendency to get bogged down in dealing with the changes, so much so that they can end up losing sight of their overall mission. In my view, this is currently a very real danger that FE colleges face. With so much disruption coming in thick and fast – area reviews followed by apprenticeship reform followed by T-Levels – the possibility of getting lost in the implementation of these sorts of reforms and forgetting the overarching reason for being there in the first place is easily done.

The Answer to “Superficial” Area Reviews: The Common Language of Data

In a recent article for TES, Roger Brown, emeritus professor of higher education policy at Liverpool Hope University and currently chair of Barton Peveril Sixth Form College in Eastleigh, made some interesting observations about the current area-based reviews of post-16 provision. Speaking from experience, his college having just been part of the review in the Solent area, he offered a number of significant criticisms of the process, concluding that what the sector really needs is not one-off events like the area reviews, but to seek out ways of “effectively coordinating provision”.

Why Further Education and Schools Must Collaborate More in the Future

I was recently invited by City & Guilds to take part in a panel discussion at The Telegraph Festival of Education, held at Wellington College on 23rd and 24th June. The panel was chaired by City & Guilds' Director of Assessment Policy, Research and Compliance, Patrick Craven, and featured Tony Ellender, Emerging Talent Manager at Balfour Beatty, Chris McLean, Deputy Principal at Milton Keynes College, and myself. The subject at hand was "Why Further Education and Schools Must Collaborate More in the Future," and I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the thoughts that I offered in my opening statement.

Taking the Gobbledygook Out of Careers Advice

A recent report by the House of Lords social mobility committee has claimed that young people who don’t go to university are "overlooked and left behind". The report argues that while there is so much focus on the numbers entering university, the majority of young people in the UK do not opt for academic study after the age of 16, and for those in this situation the system is "complex and incoherent".

Effective curriculum rationalisation

We could probably all think of instances where organisations we’ve read about, heard about or even worked for have undergone a period of rationalisation to increase efficiency, yet they have appeared to all intents and purposes to be targeting entirely the wrong areas. Some of the most vital jobs are cut whilst others which are less crucial are retained; the budget is slashed in a vital area which just cannot afford another cut; a service has been cut which was vital to customers and therefore to the future success of the organisation. Though rationalisation is sometimes a necessary part in the life of any organisation, it is obviously something that needs to be done with extreme caution and with all the long-term repercussions factored into the decision making process.The announcement by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills last year of a series of area reviews into the Further Education sector was basically the announcement of a process of sector rationalisation, the idea being that institutions deemed to be functioning ineffectively would either be closed or told they must merge with other institutions. Now the Government has signalled the next phase of this process, by offering consultancy grants of up to £100,000 to support “significant changes resulting from an area review.” In other words, the grants are basically intended to help individual colleges, as well as those that are set to merge, rationalise their operation as part of the wider process of rationalisation throughout the sector.The BIS memo – Transition grants guidance: area reviews of post-16 education and training institutions – states that grants may be given in cases where “significant rationalisation” or other “significant change” is reasonably expected to have significant upfront costs. It went on to name some specific areas where this might be the case:

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