From education to employment

FE Soundbite 736 – What is the Public Sector Productivity Plan and how could it affect you?

Gavin O'Meara, FE News mugshot

Welcome to FE Soundbite Edition 736, 8th March 2024: What is the Public Sector Productivity Plan and how could it affect you? The Budget, National Careers Week, International Women’s Day… it’s all going on!

Mixing it up with Soundbite

We know life is busy, so this is FE Soundbite edition 736, with your weekly snapshot of the latest thought leadership and big announcements from this week on FE News. So we thought we’d mix things up a bit and do a bit of a trial of FE Soundbite being published on a Friday again. We used to have Soundbite go live several years ago on a Friday, then switched to a Saturday. So I thought we’d mix it up and give you a Friday roundup. So I hope this helpful.

Skills Minister Rob Halfon Exclusive (twice in two weeks)

First up… for the second time in two weeks, we had an Exclusive article from Skills Minister Rob Halfon. This time reflecting on #NCW (National Careers Week). With Rob Halfon’s Three Priorities For Good Careers Guidance

Gavin’s Reflective Perspective for this week

You couldn’t really miss the budget this week. We have a massive round up article on the budget and the sector reaction to the news from the budget… or lack of news on skills and employability in the Spring Statement. Now it may have been overlooked by the news on a National Insurance drop or changes for parents and Child Benefits… but one thing really ‘sang out’ to me during that hour and a bit of the budget… the Public Sector Productivity Plan. It had a 2 minute mention during the budget, which was more than the Defense Budget had (even though we have a major war in Europe), or the mention of a recession, so on reflection it was kind of significant.

ROI and Productivity in FE, Skills and Employability. A window of opportunity?

So why do I highlight the Public Sector Productivity Plan… well the Chancellor mentioned it, but I think it is going to be massive for all of the public sector in the very near future. As the Chancellor mentioned that the average productivity of public services is estimated to be 5.9% below pre-pandemic levels and returning productivity to pre- pandemic levels would deliver up to £20 billion of benefits a year. I think the amount of funding to public sector has potential to remain the same, but the results or ROI will be the new measure.

With all of this in mind, I think the FE and Skills sector has a massive opportunity to step ahead for the current Government administration and potential new future Gov Admins.. to show the return on investment of FE and Skills… eg for every £1 spent on Level 3 Apprenticeships, the return is Y, for every £1 spent on Level 6 Apprenticeships, or X qualification, returns an average of Z return. I think this will greatly help show why Government needs to invest more in Apprenticeships, Lifelong learning, upskilling, reskilling, employability programmes etc etc. If productivity was seen to be more important than Defense spending in this budget, when there is a major war in Europe… this is significant! We need to show how FE and Skills is fruitful, not wasteful of Gov money and funding. Also, how we are united, how we use tools (like AI to help with the burden of business admin or help learners). Productivity and ROI as a sector is key for future success in my mind.

Cool thought leadership and exclusives from this week on FE News

This week was National Careers Week (NCW), so I want to highlight our dedicated careers articles this week:

So we have a cool piece from Prof Deirdre Hughes on Investing in Careers and Decent Work: A Crucial Step Towards Building an Inclusive Society and Chris Webb with a very popular (and clever title): CareersGPT: How AI Could Impact Our Professional Lives. I also think Spencer’s article was very interesting: Nurturing Tomorrow’s Talent: The Case for Career Changers to Embrace Training and Coaching Roles.

We also had cool articles from Kim Morton, Mischa McInerney from the Digital Marketing Institute, was a close one for me on Diversifying entry routes into professional careers like marketing.. and we had an interesting article Ben Thuriaux-Alemán and Simon Guyomard-Norman from Arthur D. Little & Rayhaan Survé from Sekunjalo Group with an interesting article: What will the further education teaching mission be in the future?

Rupert Crossland from Professional Assessment Ltd (PAL) has also written a really helpful article: What the latest ESFA updates mean for training providers?

So today is International Women’s Day and this week is National Careers Week… so we couldn’t think of anyone better to wrap the two together and help a bunch of people in the process… check out this article by my mate Jane Knight: Career Tips for Women from Jane Knight on International Women’s Day

Cool FE Voices from this week

Changing the impossible: how an online ‘escape room’ could hold the key to unlocking the assessment system By Sophie Maxwell, Founder of The Really Neet Project

Amir Qureshi, Chief Executive Officer at The Protocol Group wrote Why We Should Inspire New Generations to Consider a Career in Education

Danielle Johnson,The Skills Network writes about International Women’s Day – A Time For Everyday Heroes… grab a cuppa and check that out! Who doesn’t love an everyday hero?

Sector Reactions:

Today is International Women’s Day… here is our sector reaction to a massive day: International Women’s Day 2024: Sector Response

Many perspectives and views on the outcomes of the Spring Budget: Spring Budget 2024- Sector Response on Public Service Productivity Plan and More

Ofsted is listening! The Sector reacts to ‘Ofsted’s Big Listen’

Cool Reports that are well worth a check out:

SkillSoft had a cool report that is well worth checking out: Skillsoft’s Lean Into Learning Report Shows Multidimensional Skills Crisis Driving Demand For Workplace Learning

In the know:

Things to look forward to next week on FE News… we have a trio of cool videos and reflections from our mates at NCFE on their 175th celebrations… one stand out for me is Tim Campbell, I really enjoyed meeting Tim, at the NCFE 175th event, in his speech he dropped in Billingsgate (I used to live next to there), the importance of his Mum on his education and career choices and Mr Foley. Check out the video with Tim next week!

Neil Wolstenholme, also has the greatest title for an article ever next week… so keep an eye out! … and I love the image! You are gonna love it.

So I hope you enjoy FE Soundbite this week.

FE Soundbite is the weekly e-newsletter and e-journal by FE News: ISSN 2732-4095. We know life is busy, so here is a snapshot of the latest announcements and epic thought leadership articles, from sector influencers and cool thinkers across FE and Skills this week on FE News

If you couldn’t guess it was written by Gavin O’Meara, CEO and Founder FE News and FE Careers

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