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In last week’s edition I reported on regional labour market intelligence, calls for Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) reforms, the Council Assets Programme and student satisfaction success. This week the headlines are around vocational qualifications, NIACE’s Manifesto, measuring university-business cooperation, the provision of – and quality assurance in – Higher Education and Local Enterprise Partnership funding.

Vocational qualifications were celebrated nationwide, as part of VQ Day. The Institute of Public Policy Research marked the day with a new report, ‘Vocational Qualifications – a route to future success’, which investigates the changing landscape of the workforce, concluding that, by 2022, nine out of ten of the most in-demand occupations of the future will be attained by completing vocational qualifications. Vocational training will be the key to securing hundreds of thousands of jobs for young people in Devon and Cornwall and the South West, the study into the future of the UK labour market has revealed. The Institute for Learning marked VQ Day with a new accolade, the first VQ Newly Qualified Further Education Teacher of the Year award. In related news, Bath Spa University recently teamed up with Norton Radstock College to help rural businesses identify the skills they need from potential employees.

Matthew Hancock spoke this week at the annual Association of Education Learning Providers (AELP) conference about the importance of apprenticeship reforms, launching NIACE’s new online employer toolkit, which is designed to help more disabled people gain access to Apprenticeships.  NIACE have also recently published a Manifesto, detailing the crucial role that lifelong learning can play in a prosperous society and a vibrant economy, which will feature in discussions by leading political figures at NIACE’s Annual Adult Learners’ Week Policy Conference on Thursday 19 June in Westminster. NIACE has also responded to the Queen’s Speech, which, they said, “lacked enough new proposals for investment in skills training”. A report published this week by the Office for National Statistics, shows that 13.9% of those in work are home workers, the highest rate of home working since comparable records began in 1998.

Measuring the impact of university-business cooperation is a new study from the EU’s DG Education and Culture, which highlights numerous benefits of university-business cooperation in the field of education, directly, indirectly, quantitatively and qualitatively. The benefits of collaboration can be broadly described as falling into four categories, namely: Strengthening levels of human capital, with labour supply and employment implications; Stimulating entrepreneurship through teaching and learning; Knowledge exchange, aimed at promoting or stimulating product/process innovation or new pedagogy; and Raising the profile of an organisation. Last week, Dr Anthony Mann, Director of Policy and Research at the Education and Employers Taskforce, published a collection, co-edited with Julian Stanley (University of Warwick) and Prof Louise Archer (King’s College London), entitled Understanding Employer Engagement in Education: theories and evidence.

HEFCE recently responded to a University Alliance report entitled ‘How do we ensure quality in an expanding higher education system?‘  Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE’s Chief Executive, said: “The report is particularly timely, and touches closely on a number of matters high on the HEFCE agenda” adding “The Government has asked us to develop mechanisms to assure the quality of the student experience when student number controls are removed. We have also started work to examine how students might be better protected in the event of untoward disruption to their studies”.

The four UK HE funding bodies and Research Councils UK (RCUK) have written to the heads of all UK HE institutions inviting input into the science and innovation strategy, as non-Russell Group universities rise in the Guardian University League Table 2015, knocking former favourites out of top slots. The University of Exeter has enjoyed significant success in the latest league table, strengthening its position as one of the best universities in the country. One of Exeter’s latest ventures is looking to train the business leaders of tomorrow with a new £5.5 million purpose built business school, the first of its kind in Cornwall. Dr Garry Tregidga recently reflected on the impact of the European Union, suggesting that a ‘Cornish solution’ will ensure economic regeneration.

Turning to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), a new group, tasked with driving the growth of the Solent’s marine and maritime sector, is to be backed with £75,000 of Solent LEP funding. The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP is inviting businesses to its stand at the Royal Cornwall Show to find out how it wants to invest £1 billion by 2020 in the local economy. Eleven firms have received grant funding worth £348,000 from the Swindon and Wiltshire LEP to spur their growth and boost employment. Businesses in the South West of England will benefit from a new funding boost for skills training, with £400,000 secured to help local firms ensure that their staff are equipped with the necessary training and encourage a greater take-up of apprenticeships in the area.

 

I hope you find this information useful.

Cheers!

Kevin

National Headlines

Google lifts the lid on workforce demographics
Google has released full details of its workforce demographics for the first time, with the tech giant admitting it is “not where we want to be” on diversity issues.

Rising union membership in private sector is good for workers wanting a decent pay rise
“Unions deliver better pay, longer holidays, more training, safer workplaces, family-friendly jobs and decent pensions. That is because workers are stronger when they join together.” – Frances O’Grady, TUC

RNIB publish evidence-based review on people of working age
RNIB have published an evidence-based review which looks in detail at the experiences of blind and partially sighted people of working age.

Army training scheme for long-term unemployed may be extended
Scheme piloted in Telford and Stoke can raise awareness of army reserve and make people more employable, says officer.

Majority of Gen Y ‘won’t stay with one employer more than five years’
Employers will have to try harder to retain Generation Y talent as a global survey revealed 90 per cent of this age group plan to stay no longer than five years with one organisation.

New course for FE staff working with young people with autism
A two day course for staff in further education working directly with young people with autism, is being piloted in London by Ambitious about Autism and NIACE, on 30 June – 1 July.

Parental careers advice to children often ‘out of date’
Parents play a key role in their children’s career decisions, but their views are often out of date and badly informed, suggests a report.

Colleges keen to support scheme to get young people into work – and keep them there
Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, responds to a Government announcement that unemployed 16 and 17-year-olds will be able to access help and support from Jobcentre Plus.

Help for 16 and 17 year olds to catch up, keep up and find work
Jobcentre Plus, in partnership with local authorities, to help 16 and 17 year olds to catch up, keep up and find work.

PM marks £1 billion investment boost for UK SMEs
Balfour Beatty has announced a record spend of £1 billion this year on contracts with SMEs across the country.

CBI survey – optimism high in service sector after year of growth
The service sector is continuing to feel the benefits of the economic upswing with growing optimism, business volumes rising briskly and firms taking on more staff. That’s according to the CBI’s latest quarterly Service Sector Survey.

Help to Work – nationwide drive to help the long-term unemployed into work
Help to Work will give Jobcentre staff a new range of options to support the hardest to help get off benefits and into work.

Leading figures respond to new NIACE Manifesto
A Manifesto, detailing the crucial role that lifelong learning can play in a prosperous society and a vibrant economy, will be discussed by leading political figures at NIACE’s Annual Adult Learners’ Week Policy Conference on Thursday 19 June in Westminster.

Despite their advantages apprenticeships are underused
To reduce high unemployment among their young people, countries are looking to others for help. In countries, such as Germany, the Netherlands and Austria youth unemployment has remained relatively low. This is attributed in part to their apprenticeships or ‘dual’ systems and so interest in them has increased.

Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), May 2014
The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET was 13.5%, down 0.8 percentage points from October to December 2013 and down 1.6 percentage points from a year earlier.

Government to take £40 from everyone who loses their job
From this Autumn anyone who loses their job will receive £40 less as a result of government plans to make people wait for longer for any job support, according to a consultation published today (Friday) by the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) – an official body that advises the Department of Work and Pensions on benefits issues.

KPMG staff go over the top for National Literacy Trust
One hundred and seventy KPMG staff have spent this week taking part in the Big Blue Abseil this week raising over £45,000 for their selected charities Action for Literacy and Shelter.

80,000 UK students to visit China to boost trade links
Vince Cable urges business leaders to support a drive to double the number of UK exchange students who travel to China.

Children call for more hands-on careers guidance in new AoC research
School children want drastic changes made to the way in which they receive careers advice, according to new research conducted by the Association of Colleges (AoC) in partnership with The Skills Show.

Mentoring scheme from 30% Club set to boost number of senior women
A mentoring scheme designed to boost the number of women on boards will launch in September after a series of successful pilot programmes run by the 30% Club.

Universities to contribute to new Science and Innovation Strategy for the UK
The four UK higher education funding bodies and Research Councils UK (RCUK) have written to the heads of all UK higher education institutions inviting input into the science and innovation strategy.

HEFCE response to University Alliance report ‘How do we ensure quality in an expanding higher education system?’
“The University Alliance report is a helpful addition to the debate around quality and regulation in a rapidly changing HE landscape. The report is particularly timely, and touches closely on a number of matters high on the HEFCE agenda.” – Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive

 

South West Headlines

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP shares £1 billion investment plan at Royal Cornwall show
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is inviting businesses to its stand at the Royal Cornwall Show to find out how it wants to invest £1 billion by 2020 in the local economy.

SW LEP funding for businesses spurs growth and job creation
Eleven firms have received grant funding worth a total of £348,000 from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to spur their growth and boost employment.

Bristol enterprise zone funding boosted by £6 million
Bristol awarded funding as part of a £23 million national urban redevelopment and new business fund.

£23 million to build up enterprise zones will bring home more local jobs
Investment will bring more jobs to Bristol, Manchester, New Anglia and Leicestershire.

Cheltenham GE Aviation Systems ‘jobs uncertainty over’
It is hoped up to 200 jobs will stay in Gloucestershire after a £42m takeover of GE Aviation Systems was agreed.

18 new jobs created by The Growth Hub
The Growth Hub, the unique partnership between GFirst LEP and the University of Gloucestershire, has launched a recruitment drive for 18 professionals to join the team.

South West Stressed at Work
More than half of employees (51 per cent) in the South West say they know a colleague who has had to quit work due to stress.

Solent LEP backs marine growth with launch of new group
A new group, tasked with driving the growth of the Solent’s marine and maritime sector, is to be set up and backed with £75,000 of Solent LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) funding.

£348k Growth Grants Awarded to Local Businesses
Thanks to funding secured by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, even more local businesses will benefit from grants to help them grow.

Funding boost for skills training in the South West
Businesses in the south-west of England will benefit from a new boost in funding for skills training. A total of £400,000 has been secured to help local firms ensure that their staff are equipped with the necessary training and encourage a greater take-up of apprenticeships in the area.

The growth of Bristol’s creative and digital sector
Bristol is often hailed as a creative and digital hub. Gavin Thompson reports on how well placed the sector is to deliver jobs and prosperity for the city.

Only a ‘Cornish solution’ will ensure economic regeneration
Dr Garry Tregidga reflects on the impact on EU.

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