From education to employment

Bleak Picture in Wales Work Based Learning Alleviated by Positive Initiative

In the recent Annual Report on education and training in Wales for 2004 – 2005 by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, work based learning was highlighted by the Chief Inspector as an area in need of improvement.

The Chief Inspector’s report has expressed growing unease over the quality and quantity of work based learning provision, and has stressed the importance of improving this area of education and training. Primary and Secondary education appears to be moving in the right direction, with improvements in levels and grades attained; yet FE generally appears to be struggling to match the rate of improvement in Wales.

Praise for Success

Adult Learners appear to be moving ahead, however. Standards achieved by adult learners were high, deemed to be good or better in 84% of classes, with most learners gaining new skills. The Chief Inspector also highlighted the success of one particular initiative, namely Swansea Employment Training.

The Chief Inspector praised Swansea Employment Training as an example of a work-based learning provider that has made great progress since its last inspection. She puts this down to a combination of the combined hard work of learners, staff, local employers, various agencies and the local authority in driving standards and improving the provision.

Susan Lewis, the Chief Inspector, stated: “Standards have improved greatly at Swansea Employment Training due to a strong commitment to continuous improvement, backed up through robust and honest self-evaluation that clearly identifies what needs to be improved. Swansea Employment Training works closely in partnership with employers and the wider community to help tackle social disadvantage and promote economic regeneration in this area.”

Links Between Agencies and Economic Security

The Chief Inspector also pointed to the benefits of working closely with relevant agencies in achieving success, saying: “Partnerships within local areas of Wales are becoming increasingly important in planning how best to increase the range and quality of education and training available to learners. The work of Community Consortia for Education and Training, 14-19 Networks and Young People’s Partnerships has led to a better exchange of information and stronger links between providers.”

The Chief Inspector concluded: “The economic prosperity of Wales depends on people from all backgrounds being able to take part fully in employment and contribute to society. Tackling the skills gap for learners of all ages is an important strategy for making sure that learners have the communication, numeracy and information technology skills that employers want, or that the learners themselves need to further their education and training.”

Jethro Marsh

How can this example be best promoted so that Wales can move forward as a whole? Tell us in the FE Blog

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