Jane Hickie

Association of Employment and Learning Providers @AELPUK-

Ministers should be bold about introducing a demand-led system in the Further Education white paper

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has confirmed its priority wishlist in advance of the Spending Review outcome and the FE white paper, urging ministers to be bold in coming forward with reforms to benefit employers and learners.  The FE system should be fully demand-led, with funding following the learner.

On apprenticeships, however, AELP argues that only some fine-tuning is required after a lengthy period of reform.  The latest briefing paper from the Association points to the levy reforms causing a shift away from level 2 (intermediate) and 3 (advanced) provision with a focus on apprenticeship opportunities in SMEs towards higher level provision with greater emphasis on opportunities offered by larger employers.  AELP believes a rebalancing is required.

The briefing paper reminds ministers that the government needs to recognise the whole range of providers in the system, including the value of independent training providers (ITPs), and play on their individual strengths rather than trying to manufacture a system through institutional bias.  It offers clear evidence from Ofsted and the government itself that it is a complete fallacy for some to claim that ITPs deliver poorer quality than other institutions while acting as the principal salesforce for government funded skills training.

AELP has five main recommendations in its latest briefing:

  • Putting apprenticeships funding on a long-term sustainable footing (including fair and proper funding for standards) – letting levy payers freely use funding while having a standalone budget for SMEs
  • Funding level 2 provision more appropriately and encouraging young people to embark on life-changing vocational education pathways
  • Greater investment in the adult education budget (AEB)
  • Moving toward a more responsive provider market, which is effective in supporting employer need
  • Continuing to move the FE system to being demand-led, with funding following the learner.

In respect of the final recommendation, AELP reiterates its longstanding belief that providing they have the safeguard of choosing from accredited courses and approved providers, adult learners should be given skills accounts to make choices themselves.  It is greatly encouraging that in the run-up to the white paper’s publication, other opinion-formers feel that now is the time for them to be re-introduced.

Jane Hickie 20May 100x100AELP managing director Jane Hickie said,

“These priorities would be much the same if the pandemic hadn’t taken place, but Covid’s impact on jobs and young people have underlined the need to act now.

“The lockdown has starkly illustrated that learning can be delivered well in a classroom, a workplace, online, blended, full-time or part-time according to the needs and circumstances of the individual. No one can claim that a particular way is the best way anymore.  Running away from the principle of the individual exercising choice over their preferred mode of learning is an outdated option.

“Success in reforming FE is intrinsically connected to the role that ITPs are allowed to play in any reform plans.  In AELP’s view, the greater the role, the greater the chances of success, but the overriding principle should be that the size of that role is determined by the choices made by employers and individual learners and not by policymakers.”

Link to AELP briefing paper: ‘FE Reform White Paper and the Importance of Independent Training Providers in Further Education’:

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 2 days ago

The Environmental Impacts of Remote Work: Stats and Benefits: Working from home is a necessity rather than a luxury… https://t.co/NEJrovahxg
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 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