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Has HE lost its relevance? FE Soundbite 649

Gavin O'Meara
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Welcome to FE Soundbite Edition 649. Well, it is Scorchio here in Exeter.. I hope you are enjoying the sun and the weekend! FE Soundbite is the FE News weekly round up of the latest news, interesting thought leadership articles that I think might be of interest… and a bit of a round-up of the week. This is edition 649 (so one edition of 12.5 years of FE Soundbite… wow!). It has been an incredibly busy week on FE News this week:

National Employability Day

Just looking at the title alone… this well worth a read … my word, my heart sang and I nearly shouted… YES! when I read the title of a fantastic article from Paul Warner from AELP: To level up the country, we need to join up employability and skills services

We had a great article from ERSA’s Elizabeth Taylor: Just the job: We fill vacancies and Colin Geering from Novus: Rebuilding lives through employability-focused learning and training … and Paul Warner‘s article from AELP above as well… so loads to dive into.

The impact of Creative AI.. very interesting

One of my favourite articles this week was the Impact of Creative AI by Julian Watkiss… this is really interesting and well worth a read. Particularly when thinking about the impact of technology and the future of work.

Our most popular article of the week.. so far

Our most popular article of the week (at the time of writing) was Maria Perlman’s article where she asks: Has HE lost its relevance?.… controversial title!.. but well worth a read… and it has been incredibly popular with the audience in numbers of reads and with engagement on social media. I also love Maria’s pic… I am almost tempted to update my profile pic to replicate it, but I don’t think I could pull it off to be fair!

A Cool Podcast to check out.. maybe when enjoying the sunshine:

the Mh&A team recorded a cool podcast that could be cool listening if you want to multi-task and enjoy the sunshine: Crisis Management Best Practice for Education Institutions – this is with a cool group of people with real experience of crisis leadership in and outside the education section: Professor Matt Hamnett, MH&A’s founding partner, former DfE senior civil servant and sector CEO; Jaine Bolton, also formerly a senior civil servant in DfE; and, Ian French, global risk management expert.

I’d highly recommend a long glass of pressed apple juice… as much ice as you want to squeeze in the glass, grab a seat outside and check it out.

Encouraging Social impact in FE

This week NCFE and Good For ME Good For FE announced they are teaming up. NCFE’s CEO David Gallagher also unpacked the reason why: A social impact revolution in FE. For me this is so worth a read and for us all to jump in to help the FE and Skills sector be catalysts for positive social impact and change in our communities.

Some cool exclusive thought leadership articles to check out:

Dr Sai Loo has written the first of a three part series: Vocational Education and Training (VET) in FE: A question of ‘divide and rule’ – I’d highly recommend checking this out. Our friends at WISE have written a really cool thought leadership piece called: Empowering the leaders of tomorrow. This is a really great read and a great article by Audrey Giacomini and Niamh Whelan.

Following on with the international theme, my mate Olly from Edge has shared some insight on Australia’s TAFE System. If Olly is thinking and talking about it… in my experience, it is essential reading!

Nahla has written another great article: What makes you a great organisation? Not being funny, who doesn’t want to work for a great organisation… let alone have the privilege of leading a great organisation and team. So I would highly recommend checking it out.

Anita also wrote an interesting article about SEND – The SEND Review misses the bulls eye of the system.

Leading by example

Also, congrats to AoC – David and the team.. .this is real credit to you… as AoC has been named among the top 100 employers for Diversity! As the trade organisation for FE Colleges… talk about lead by example. Fair play to AoC.

Big news announcements and reports from this week:

Big news generating stuff for me this week were: The Times Education Commission released their report… and the latest ONS figures came out this week. Most people led with the cost of living details from the ONS… and this massive.

But two important paragraphs for me were:

First Short-term Unemployment Rise Since 2020!

But there are signs that our tight post-pandemic labour market may be starting to cool. Although unemployment was at a joint 50-year low in March, short-term unemployment has risen over the past few months for the first time since 2020 and total unemployment actually rose in April. Typical pay for employees fell in May, offering the Bank of England reassurance that a wage price spiral is far from underway.

If the labour market is a turning point, and this trend of rising unemployment continues over the coming months, as forecast by the Bank of England, people looking for work or more hours to maintain their incomes may find themselves frustrated.

Now if we are seeing a massive increase in the cost of living… but how much worse will this be if we have an increase in those taking or in between taking benefits… or the economically inactive.. this is a massive crisis potentially (almost certainly) about to happen!

UNESCO released a report: Adult education does not reach those who need it most! The Public Accounts Committee released: Low student satisfaction and rising deficits spell trouble for higher education in England. Another interesting report was by IFS: Plans will leave spending on adult education and apprenticeships 25% below 2010 levels by 2025.

It has been a very busy week!

Cool Livestream next Wednesday

We have a cool livestream coming up on Wednesday – live at 10am: The AAT Syllabus is Changing: Are You Ready? This is a co-produced livestream with the Skills Network and we are joined by an AAT expert to help us know how to support learners, employers and providers with the changes.

I hope you enjoy FE Soundbite this week!

Gavin, CEO and Founder, FE News and FE Careers

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