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Supporting job seekers in transitioning into growing industries: Boris Johnson’s Conservative party conference speech

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Today (6 Oct) the Prime Minister @BorisJohnson set out plans to ‘Build Back Greener’, as he addressed attendees at the Conservative Party conference. 

Plans include significant investment into offshore wind, with ambitious aims to become the global leader in green energy and achieve Net Zero by 2050. He also hinted at expansion of the National Tuition Programme (NTP).

Responding to Boris Johnson’s speech at the Conservative party conference today (6 Oct),

Neil Carberry100x100Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said:

“The Prime Minister’s recognition of the importance of the private sector was timely. Support to businesses to date has helped firms get through Covid but as it comes to an end, the private sector will be more important than ever. The labour market is making a comeback with over 1.2 million job vacancies out there right now, but even so we face rising unemployment through the autumn.

“As the jobs experts, recruiters are key to supporting job seekers in transitioning into the growing industries the Prime Minister mentioned. That has to start with a strong role for the sector in the private sector job search support DWP are developing.”

KevinCourtney100x100Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“Boris Johnson has been keen to present himself as a hero for disadvantaged young people but has so far not come up with the goods. It is hoped that the National Tuition Programme will go some way towards boosting individual support, but we need a different approach to education during Covid, not ‘normal expectations’ plus some tutoring on the side.

“The idea of meeting individual needs is the right one, but the Government is sending mixed messages – sometimes recognising this isn’t a normal year, but then also pressing ahead with exams and standard tests as if normal teaching time did occur last year. 

“The ideological obsession with the private sector’s ability to deliver has been thoroughly tested during Covid and left wanting, and there is no reason to suppose the NTP will be any different. Untested, rushed plans will always lead to dysfunction. What is presented as a magic solution for disadvantaged young people could result in less time being spent with qualified teachers. Schools should instead receive this money direct and target that extra support as they see fit, based on their plans to re-engage students, rather than see it allocated for unqualified tutors.

“In a poll of NEU members published at the weekend, 51% reported they had witnessed a ‘significant increase’ in hardship amongst their pupils since March. In 2018-19 some 4.2 million in the UK were trapped in poverty, but by Christmas, 200,000 more children will be pushed below the poverty line.

“The tuition programme can’t be used to hide from making the overall changes to assessment and exams needed this year, which must be driven for what’s realistic for students and fair for teachers.

“The Government can do much more to ensure no child is left behind. Real differences could be made if they were to address hunger, not least during school holidays. We also need affordable uniforms. The Government must redouble its efforts to meet the need for IT and wi-fi, which nearly half a million young people are still awaiting after months of broken promises.”

peter lampl100x100Sir Peter Lampl, chair and founder of the Sutton Trust, said:

‘The Prime Minister’s commitment to tutoring is really welcome. There is strong evidence that high-quality tutoring is a cost-effective way to support pupils, whether they are falling behind or need a bit of extra stretch. I’m pleased that the Prime Minister also acknowledged that It is not just an approach that can support catch-up after this year’s school closures, but can and must be provided in the long term to address the stubborn gap in outcomes between poorer pupils and their peers. 

“Small group tuition should be considered too, which can be just as effective as one-to-one and allows far greater reach. The crucial factor is ensuring the tutoring is high-quality and acts as a complement to classroom teaching.

“Any additional support through tutoring should be directed at pupils from lower-income homes, as is happening through the National Tutoring Programme this year. It’s for the government through the Spending Review to decide on the funding for all programmes including the NTP.

“Our research has shown that many middle-class families already buy in tutoring for their children, so it is absolutely right that we are able to offer similar support to lower-income pupils too.”

Scott Bullock 100x100Scott Bullock, Principal of Newcastle College, said:

“Newcastle College welcomes today’s announcement from the Prime Minister which promises substantial investment in clean energy and an aim to power all UK homes by wind energy by 2030.

“The North East is central to the UK’s offshore wind sector and further investment from government will support the creation of thousands of skilled jobs and employment in our region over the next decade.

“As a college, we are perfectly placed to deliver the training and upskilling required to fill those roles. Our partnerships within the energy sector, our commitment to industry collaboration and our specialist facilities at our dedicated Energy Academy ensure that our learners receive high-quality, industry led training to meet the needs of our region’s energy employers.”

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