From education to employment

How is Labour thinking about reforming the Apprenticeship Levy? FE Soundbite edition 653

Gavin O'Meara

Welcome to FE Soundbite edition 653. This is our weekly e-newsletter and journal from the latest news and thought leadership from FE News over the past week.

Former education secretary, Lord Blunkett, has exclusively revealed, during an interview with the Skills World Live Radio Show, that the Labour party is considering turning the £3 billion per annum Apprenticeship Levy into a wider “learning levy.” …. this is massive news… who knows if.. and when an election can happen… the Conservative Party doesn’t even have a leader / long-term PM. There have already been moves to push towards an election this week. This is pretty interesting and potentially massive. Let’s see how this pans out.

The full interview with Tom Bewick on the Skills World LIVE radio show is here if you missed it!

We have a new Skills Minister… could she be a bit of a Rock Star?!

Andrea Jenkyns has been appointed Skills, Further and Higher Education Minister. Now why am I saying she is a bit of a rock star… well, in the middle of the Great Government Reshuffle last week, I mean it must have been chaos… but in the middle of it all… she was caught on camera raising her middle finger outside of Parliament… and the Education unions weren’t happy about it.

Now was this someone on a bad, day, having a bad week and feeling the pressure?… or was it a disruptor.. giving the finger? I honestly don’t know, only time will tell.

What is interesting, is her title covers Skills, Further Education and Higher Education, this smacks of joined-up thinking… but with a new PM in the wings, will there be a new Education Secretary, new Skills Minister?… could there even be an election? Honestly, I do not know! May we live in interesting times and all of that, ha, ha.

Anyway, the optimist in me hopes… prays… whatever happens, we end up with a Skills Minister, with joined-up thinking, a bit of a maverick, looking big picture, who can be a proper Rock Star and make fundamental positive change.

What did our thought leaders discuss and share this week?

David Russell wrote a really interesting article where he asks a really interesting question: What’s Boris Johnson got to do with a self-improving FE system? AELP’s Jane Hickie also wrote a cool piece: Levelling up must survive a change of Prime Minister- the skills sector is depending on it.

Ian Pretty from the Collab group wrote a cool article this week: FE has always led the way in HTE, Government must now recognise it is best placed to take it forward.

Maria Perlman has written her second piece and is all about joined-up thinking: Addressing the skills shortage: Why HE and FE must work more closely with business.

Chris Thomson wrote a timely piece reflecting on the recent Wimbledon tennis final, continual improvement and the FE sector and our relationship with Ofsted. It is really interesting comparing the flipped mindset over continual improvement. I would recommend checking it out. It is interesting, if not pretty challenging to be fair.

What does the future of workplace learning look like? asks Christian Foerg. It is well worth checking out.

Emily Milner wrote a really interesting piece on ethics and your board. I thought this was a really interesting piece: From the top down: Establishing ethics from the boardroom.

John writes an honest article on mental health and well-being and the power of health … and the power of being able to politely say no!

I reached out to John Loveday, as we previously exchanged a few LinkedIn messages and he wrote a really interesting LI post that really struck me and I asked him to unpack in an article… so he did and I love it… so I hope this helpful to anyone going through a storm at the moment, and if it is beautiful and sunny for you now, I recommend giving it a read, as storms come to everyone! You can guarantee that! John, if you don’t know him… has such an epic story and wrote a piece called: Does physical health affect work and business? I’d recommend checking it out.

Interesting reports, research and announcements from this past week in FE .. T Levels, to Bursaries to removing disability employment barriers

EPI completed some interesting analysis: 77% of students are not ready for T levels due to English and Maths grades. T level success dependant on literacy and numeracy improvements. Interesting!

DfE announced: New bursaries to help learners to upskill and retrain. PageGroup CEO Calls on Businesses to Remove Disability Employment Barriers.

We also covered many different voices on the recent Campaign for Learning Parents, Children and Adult Learning: Family Learning Policy in the 2020s report. They were all fantastic articles and perspectives.. but this last one was interesting to me: Prioritising Family Learning

Some interesting Employment Law articles that are well worth a read:

Jenny Arrowsmith from Irwin Mitchell wrote an interesting piece: Government set to introduce new legislation to allow temporary agency staff to cover striking workers. Helen Dyke also wrote an interesting piece: When will long COVID amount to a disability? What should employers in the Education Sector be aware of

Protect Student Choice

I would highly recommend checking out Alice Barnard from the Edge Foundation’s article: Calling on our MPs to protect student choice

I hope you enjoy FE Soundbite this week!

Gavin, CEO and Founder, FE News and FE Careers

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