From education to employment

Chris Banks, Chair of the Learning and Skills Council, addresses the National Institute of

89% of employers who use the government’s Train to Gain initiative are “satisfied with the service”, according to the Learning and Skills Council.

Chris Banks, LSC Chairman, addressed yesterday’s NIACE conference with a reflection on the good work already being done within FE, noting some disappointment on Lord Leitch’s refusal to do so.

He said: “I was slightly disappointed Sandy didn”t say a bit more about this. Because I don”t know about you, but I find it easier to do more for people who appreciate what I have done already”.

“There are now record numbers of young people in education, record numbers of apprenticeships and more young people successfully completing them. There are huge improvements here. We have the highest ever levels of adults with qualifications; we have exceeded our targets on Skills for Life with 1-¼ million learners achieving transferable qualifications. And we have renewed over half the FE Estate”.

Mr Banks also called for new impetus into reforming the “wrapper”: “What I am suggesting is that we find a new “descriptor” for levels 1, 2, 3 to be created to be part of a family of terms along with “degree” which are applied equally to all qualifications ““vocational and academic – at a certain level, irrespective of the qualification achieved”.

“I believe that this will achieve a powerful demonstration of the equal value of different qualifications, without the need to change the qualifications themselves; and therefore avoiding all the technical and political implications, that such a change would bring”.

He endorsed Lord Leitch’s “articulation” that the role of the LSC be limited to a “market maker”, introducing competition within the sector to “drive up quality”: “By opening up the market to other providers, we create healthy competition which can only drive up the quality of learning throughout the whole FE system, for the benefit of learners and employers. Where the market is failing ““if it weren”t, we wouldn”t have needed a Leitch report in the first place – we must intervene with public funding”.

“It also means that public funds have to be prioritised”.

“We cannot fund everything that we would like to: such as learning for learning’s sake. It doesn”t mean that we don”t believe in it, what it means is that there has to be a greater balance between state, employer and individual contribution. Although I am a huge fan of all further learning, whether it is tai chi or technical engineering; plumbing or pilates, the system has to be fair and equitable”.

“This means greater contribution from individuals/employers”.

Vijay Pattni.

Related FE News articles:

“FE Is Central To Prosperity” ““ 08/12/06

Breaking News ““ Lord Leitch’s Final Report Published ““ 05/12/06

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