From education to employment

LSC respond to this week’s final unveiling of the Leitch review; ffworm endorse findings/

The Learning and Skills Council, along with many other sector bodies, has welcomed Lord Leitch’s final report published earlier this week.

Chairman of the LSC, Chris Banks, in a statement released yesterday, said: “This is a clear rallying call and Lord Leitch has set ambitious challenges to employers, learners and to those who work with them. The LSC is in full agreement that we need to seize this opportunity and ensure that the ambitions of being world-class in skills are met”.

“The LSC National Council met today to discuss the Leitch Review of Skills and gave its full support to the direction and ambitions contained in the final report. We are particularly pleased to see the recognition of the contribution that some of our flagship programmes and services are already making such as Train to Gain, Apprenticeships, Skills for Life, the National Employer Service and the clear direction to build on these to accelerate progress in the years ahead”, he added.

The report recommended a “further streamlining” of the LSC, adding that the body should not undertake any detailed planning at “national, regional or local level”, instead focusing on the expansion of it’s Train to Gain service and the Learner Accounts.

Paul Mackney, University and College Union (UCU) Joint General Secretary however, cited the “over-dependence” on Train to Gain in solving the nation’s skills deficit as a “weakness”: “We don”t want the tendering process for this to destabilise FE at a time when stability is needed to tackle the nation’s skills needs”.

Chief Executive Mark Haysom, commented on the report: “It is a big challenge to be world-class. We have collectively already made considerable progress but there is much, much more which needs to be done. The LSC lies at the heart of this and is ready to play its full part”.

“It is clear that we must all continue to accelerate change so that we go further, faster. The LSC recognises and shares this ambition and we will continue to raise our game to make this a reality. We look forward to working with DfES and our partners to achieve this.

“In particular the LSC is delighted that the Chancellor has further reinforced his commitment to our Train to Gain service. He also announced a threefold increase in the numbers of adults who will be able to gain qualifications by 2011 and a doubling of Apprenticeships by 2020 to 500,000. He also committed additional capital for Further Education colleges”.

And in related news, the association of colleges in Wales, ffworm, has endorsed Lord Leitch’s final report.

However, the call for simplification cannot apply to the Welsh system, as it is structured differently, Chief Executive John Graystone noted.

“Lord Leitch’s report has made it clear that Wales’s economy will fall behind our competitors unless there is a step change in investment in economically useful skills. More learning by the workforce is a clarion call of the report”.

“The Welsh Assembly Government will need to consider how it is possible for Wales to rise to the challenges raised by Leitch. FE colleges are key players in the delivery of skills, and are looking forward to an opportunity to consider ways forward with the Welsh Assembly Government. FE colleges and fforwm will also be keen to liaise closely with employers and employer representative bodies in addressing this crucial agenda”.

Noting the universal difficulty in facing up to the challenges outlined by Lord Leitch and echoed across industry and education, Mr Graystone added: “India and China are racing ahead in the skills race. But even within the UK, Wales faces its own challenges. The population and employment mix are different and there are more micro-businesses in Wales compared to England”.

“None of these issues make it easy for us in Wales, but the high standards of training that the FE colleges are delivering to the workforce show that Wales is in a strong position to work from”.

Vijay Pattni.

Related FE News articles:

Colleges Likely To “Welcome” Leitch ““ 07/12/06

ALP Welcomes Leitch Report ““ 07/12/06

“It Is An Enormous Opportunity” ““ 06/12/06

“Don”t Give Employers Taxpayers” Money” ““ 06/12/06

Concerns Over Leitch Report ““ 06/12/06

“We”ve Still Got A Way To Go” ““ 06/12/06

“It Is A Radical View” ““ 06/12/06

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

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