From education to employment

What is happening with the Labour Market? FE Weekly Soundbite Edition 682

Danielle, Finley and Holly

Welcome to FE Soundbite Edition 682!

This is the weekly e-newsletter and e-journal brought to you 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.

This week, the apprentices are taking over! So grab your coffee (or whatever drink you like!) and get comfy…

Last week was National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), the busiest week of the year for us here at FE News! Throughout the week, we received over 100 articles solely dedicated to NAW. We have even received some unpacking articles this week, such as Kirstie Donnelly’s article which discusses the Apprenticeship Levy and their recent Levying Up report.

During NAW, we had our #FutureOfApprenticeships: The Apprentice Takeover livestream with NCFE. To carry on with this theme, we have taken over Soundbite this week!

Looking back on this week…

On Tuesday, the latest Labour Market Information was released and the sector voiced its opinion on the outcome.

This month’s figures show a continued trend of gradual improvement, with employment edging up and ‘economic inactivity’ edging down. However, falls in economic inactivity have been driven mainly by fewer students overall, with worklessness due to long-term ill health in particular remaining very high. 

One major figure which reflects the economic turmoil we experienced in 2022 is that real wage growth fell by 3.4% in 2022 – the worst annual drop since current records began in 2000!

Following on from this, new research from AND Digital reveals that nearly a third (31%) of over 55s want to improve their digital skills to ensure they can have another career or role before they retire, but are not being encouraged or supported by their organisations with training to do so. 

We have also received a thought-provoking exclusive article about how working with the refugee community could be the answer we are looking for. Many critical industries are facing severe skills shortages, therefore supporting refugees to enter the workforce and make best use of their abilities will not only benefit refugees themselves, but also the wider UK economy.

Some other major announcements from this week include:

Artificial Intelligence and the future of teachers

This week, we have once again had articles regarding AI and ChatGPT. As you all may know, AI and ChatGPT is on the rise and is bringing new tools that the Education Sector can utilise. Reactions to these advancements have varied wildly across the education sector. Students now have access to a programme that can easily be used to cheat on exams or coursework, so clarification is needed for both students and teachers for what is allowed. Check out this article by John Kleeman, where he looks at the implications of ChatGPT on the education industry and explores the future of assessments following the introduction of this (relatively) new technology.

There is a unique opportunity for the education sector to re-evaluate its testing strategies and implement new, more effective ways to carry out assessment. But this needs to be done as a collective. As Chris Thomson discusses in his article about how ‘skills are not enough‘ to deliver high quality education. Following on from this, he discusses further on how individuals should work together as a team: sharing a common goal, sharing their expertise, experimenting, sharing their mistakes, and learning together. By cultivating an atmosphere in which the actions and attitudes of staff are in line with the goals of the organization, leaders can ensure that their teams are working towards the same objectives.

Our Top Three of the Week!

We thought we’d share with you our top three favourite articles from the week, so in no particular order:

One of our top three is ‘Four ways to transform prison education‘ by Peter Cox , Managing Director of Novus.

This article outlines how changes to how prison education is delivered, contracted and funded could drive up standards for prisoners across the country. This week, we received the latest labour market figures, as mentioned above. These show how the UK employment rate is growing at a very slow rate and unemployment rate remains high. But what about those who are released from prison who are looking to pursue a career? Prison Education brings massive benefits for the individual, for employers and for the UK economy. By bringing the focus to prison education, it could drive up standards for prisoners across the country and boost the UK’s economy.

Onto the next of our top three… ‘For the memory of a lifetime, reform, reform, reform’ by Neil Sambrook, Director of Faculty for STEAM at Walsall College.

We find ourselves staring down the barrel of reform in vocational and technical education once more, with the aim of matching our international peers for invention and innovation, but how long exactly have we been chasing this goal? You’d be surprised at the answer…

Finally, we have ‘VET in FE – T Levels and BTEC programmes‘ by Dr Sai Loo, Dept. of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, and Dr Julie Wilde, Senior Lecturer in Post-Compulsory Education, University of Wolverhampton.

This is the fourth article in Sai’s Series. This article discusses two work-related programmes – T Levels (the new offers) and BTECs (the tried and tested ones). What is the conclusion? The new T Levels still have issues to iron out, and the current BTECs provide a better route to work.

Weekly Round-Down..

As you may already know, Gavin (our CEO) has been on holiday this week getting some well-deserved Radical Rest.

In true nature of this, we will end this week’s Soundbite with Lou Mycroft’s article which has been published today. Whose responsibility is it to practice rest as a lever for systems and culture change? Lou checks back in with her #RadicalRest campaign and discusses how we can finally implement radical rest in the workplace and within organisations.

We hope you find these articles as interesting as we did! Major improvements and announcements are occurring constantly within the sector- so our FE News Weekly Soundbite is here to keep you up to date!

Now that you are up to date with the latest goings-on from the FE Eco-System, get ready for your radical rest this weekend!

By Finley Vile, Digital Project Manager at FE News

Holly Wheaton, Junior Digital Project Manager at FE News

Danielle Watters, Junior Digital Project Manager at FE News

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