From education to employment

Major Players Line Up at NIACE Conference for FE Batting

“Education, Education, Education”.

Three words marking the definitive intention of New Labour to reshape the state of British learning. Yet in the recent controversy surrounding the Education White Paper, Ruth Kelly admitted that more than a quarter of primary school children would leave without the necessary literacy skills. Of these, she went on to admit that 85% would be ill-equipped to fully benefit from the secondary curriculum.

Worse still, our participation rate for 17-year olds in continued education is ranked 27th out of 30 industrialised countries. Far from creating a generation of illiterate, unemployable and disadvantaged teenagers, the government needs to do more than address issues. Something that the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education fully understands.

Conference on Impact of Priorities

The “Human Capital, Adult Skills and Lifelong Learning” conference will take place on the 15th March 2006 and will address the impact of the government’s education priorities. With a keynote speech from Sir Andrew Foster, author of “Realising the Potential”, the conference will discuss how, despite this renewed investment, it is estimated that there will be more than a million fewer adult learners.

There can be no mistaking the acute attention FE is receiving, as Colin Flint, Director of FE at the NIACE, points out: “This conference is a great opportunity for you to make your voice heard at this crucial time for adult learning. Our recent conferences on what the future holds for adult learning have been oversubscribed. The lively debates have illustrated the growing concern within the sector.”

Leitch Review Approaching

He is keen to stress the importance of assessing the long-term benefits of government initiatives, citing key players in the industry and their diligence. “Lord Leitch’s report on skills needs for 2020, Sir Andrew Foster’s review into the future role of further education colleges and the NIACE report “Eight in Ten” on the state of adult learning in FE have resulted in a period of consideration for all those concerned about any future strategy for lifelong learning and whether the Government has got this right,” he said. “The importance of skills and qualifications in the UK workforce has rarely received such attention.”

Speaking alongside Sir Andrew Foster will be a glittering cast of FE heavyweights, including Chris Hughes, former Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA); Nick Isles of The Work Foundation; Susan Pember from the Department of Education and Skills (DfES); Liz Smith, National Officer for The Union Academy; and Alan Tuckett, Director of the NIACE.

The Human Capital, Adult Skills and Lifelong Learning Conference will be held at the Marriott Hotel Swiss Cottage, 128 King Henry’s Road, London, NW3 3ST. More information about this conference, including a program of speakers, is available by clicking here.

Vijay Pattni

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