From education to employment

“Transforming Learning and Skills” Released on Last Day of AoC Conference

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the body responsible for the allocation of funds to the FE Sector, has today announced their annual statement of priorities.

The document, called “Transforming Learning and Skills”, is an annual release stating the priority areas for the LSC in the year ahead. It is being released today, on the final day of the Association of Colleges (AoC) Conference in Birmingham, at which Mark Haysom, the Chief Executive of the LSC, is set to speak shortly.

The Key Priorities

The priorities, which come days after the release of the Foster Review of Further Education was published saying that FE Colleges should concentrate on skills development responding to the demands for Britain’s economic success, cover the years of 2006 / 2007. It forms part of the LSC Agenda for Change, launched in August 2005, which it is hoped will significantly overhaul the provision of post-16 learning and skills meeting another demand of Foster, for more coherent and slimmer oversight of the sector.

The first priority is to ensure that all 14 ““ 19 year olds will have access to high quality and relevant learning, through both improving current level 2 provision and widening choice. The second, making learning “truly demand ““ led”, is in harmony with both Foster’s statement and the opinion expressed by the Education Secretary Ruth Kelly, calling for a more “responsive” approach and thus encouraging cooperation with employers.

Agenda for Change and Economic Development

The third priority is essentially the implementation of the Agenda for Change principles, including a simpler funding methodology and a quality mark for continued and developed excellence. The fourth priority addresses greater involvement from the LSC in economic development, including the long ““ awaited rolling out of free Level 2 training for all and addressing concerns raised in the areas of Offender Learning and Learners with Disabilities.

Increasing the provision to encourage better skills from the public sector is the fifth of the six priorities expressed here, which falls within the initiatives to increase the number of apprentices recruited (although the previous year’s targets of recruiting apprentices was reached, with more than 175,000 recruited in 2004 / 2005). Finally, the LSC will seek to lead change and innovation from a position of greater authority than before, implementing nine regional offices to make the programmes more directly relevant to the area affected.

Mark Haysom and Bill Rammell on “Blueprint for the Country

Mark Haysom said: “We are committed to boosting individual endeavour and employer success through the further education sector, making sure that it delivers for individuals, communities and employers. By focusing on our priorities we are clear about where resources need to be urgently deployed to make a difference. We will seek to connect from the local economy through to national priorities, not least through Regional Skills Partnership and through city-regions.”

Speaking of the LSC response to the Foster Review, his welcome was clear: “We welcomed Sir Andrew Fosters report on further education earlier this week and the very real connection it makes between the FE sector and the ability for this nation to compete successfully in a global market.” He also commented on his continuing frustration at what he terms the “acronym laden” nature of the FE sector.

He went on to comment on the impact of the annual statement, saying: “This second annual statement makes clear our passion and commitment to equipping young people, adults and employers with the skills and knowledge they need to develop and sustain a thriving economy and society.”

The Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Bill Rammell MP, looked ahead with the annual statement in mind, saying: “Improving skills and boosting productivity is absolutely key to ensuring our economic competitiveness. Resources must be deployed where the need is the greatest and the LSCs Annual Statement of Priorities provides the blueprint for learning and skills in this country.”

Jethro Marsh

What do you think is missing in the annual statement? Tell us your priorities in the FE Blog

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