The Education and Training Foundation has been asked to draw up a “programme of reform” for functional skills qualifications, Skills Minister Nick Boles has announced.
In a letter to providers, Mr Boles said he was tasking the Foundation with coming up with ideas to make the qualifications a “well-respected and credible” alternative to GCSEs.
It comes after an ETF review of the qualifications led by former Jersey principal Professor Ed Sallis earlier this year found they were “not broken, but could be improved”.
In his letter, Mr Boles said: “In my previous letter, I mentioned that I had commissioned the Education and Training Foundation to carry out a review of the best way to achieve and accredit maths and English in post-16 education outside of GCSEs.
“The Foundation’s recommendations, published in March 2015, provide valuable new evidence for improving the quality and recognition of functional skills qualifications to ensure they meet the needs of employers and learners.
“I believe that Functional Skills should continue to be the main alternative English and Maths qualifications to GCSEs. However, to be well-respected and credible, it is critical they suit employers’ needs and are properly taught and assessed.
Mr Woodcock was part of a panel of FE and skills experts who spoke at a House of Commons event last night hosted by the Young Fabians Education Network (YFEN) about the prospects for England’s apprenticeship system over the five-year lifetime of the newly-elected Conservative government.
He said that he had “grave misgivings” about the 3m target spelled out in the Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto.
“We [the last Labour government] were battered over what we can now admit was an overly targeted approach to, for example, health service reform,” he said.
“It did in some cases skew the system towards churning out numbers at the expense of quality and that is [now] a huge concern for apprenticeships.
“If those apprenticeships do not genuinely embed people in the world of work and set them up for a future profession, then we are doing a disservice to those young people coming into them.”
Another panellist at the event, which had around 50 audience members and was entitled ‘Beyond 3m: A successful apprenticeships system for the UK’, was director of early careers at Barclays Bank, Mike Thompson (pictured right).
Apprenticeships can help drive a high-skill, high wage economy and give young people the skills they need to hit the ground running. Primarily for 16-24 year olds but older adults too, apprenticeships mean people can earn while they learn, receive on the job training, a wage, and a nationally-recognised qualification at the end of it.
This new campaign will kick off on Monday 9th of March during National Apprenticeship Week in partnership with Youthforce.
You’re Hired East Sussex is a county-wide campaign led by East Sussex County Council in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service, the district and borough councils, colleges, training providers, Association of Chambers, Federation of Small Businesses, Youth Employability Service and Apprenticeships in Sussex.
This aims to find 500 businesses/schools across the five district and boroughs of East Sussex to support 500 work-ready young people into apprenticeships within five months.
Another objective is to help local businesses and local schools strengthen their workforce, and create job and training opportunities for young people. Furthermore, it will outline the benefits apprenticeships can bring to businesses, and highlight the support available for businesses considering this route.
The campaign will culminate in a closing ceremony in September to celebrate the number of pledges received from the businesses taking part and the young people beginning their apprenticeships.
Get involve on Twitter using the hashtag #YoureHiredES
These highly sought after positions are for enthusiastic and dynamic individuals wishing to support children’s progress. This opportunity is suitable for those who would like to develop a career in working with children and young people aged 6-16 years in an educational environment. If you enjoy working with children and would like to play a part in their education and well-being, a role as a teaching assistant could be ideal for you.
Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to work for a real employer, earn a real salary and gain a real qualification whilst gaining valuable workplace skills and experience so you earn while you learn.
Click through to register your interest
In a move to raise educational achievement and tackle the growing problem of youth unemployment in inner city areas, training provider Youthforce has teamed up with local schools to offer young people a unique apprenticeship opportunity. Breaking away from traditional construction and engineering apprenticeships, Youthforce has developed Teaching Assistant Apprenticeships in Portsmouth with amazing results.
This year 10 Portsmouth Schools signed up to the programme offering young people paid employment as Teaching Assistants in Primary and Secondary Schools. The apprenticeship gives young people full-time employment while they gain experience and qualifications that enable them to enhance the classroom experience for children in Portsmouth.
Dave Jones, Head Teacher at Craneswater Junior School recognises the impact in the classroom. “Our apprentices have made a massive impact in the School. They learn quickly and bring fresh thinking and ideas into the school.” He goes on to explain the importance of the benefits of the apprenticeship to his School. “The scheme means we have more trained staff to support the learning here at Craneswater which is good news for all.”
For young people on the programme it has been a busy year. “The work is challenging but I absolutely love it” says Daisy Holland who supports young people with a range of learning difficulties at Redwood Park School. “I spend a lot of time dealing with children with complex needs. I’m learning loads every day about how best to help them learn new things and develop. The apprenticeship has made me rethink my career and I am keen to carry on learning and move into teaching or another specialist supporting position.”
“Schools are a great place to undertake an apprenticeship and young people are really attracted to our offer at a time when many are thinking about alternatives to University.” says Richard Davis from Youthforce. “The growth and learning in the apprentices working in schools is huge and whilst it’s incredibly challenging for the apprentices they are thriving in our partner schools across the city.”
The programme is set to grow in 2014 with more schools coming on board across London and the South East. Anyone interested in undertaking an apprenticeship with Youthforce can find out more by simply filling out theApprenticeship Sign-Up Form
This month we’ve been working Youthforce on a new project, busy addressing the problem of youth unemployment in Portsmouth and promoting our Apprenticeship offer. In a bid to promote our service to young people, we’ve contacted every 16-18 year old that is currently out of work or education – the so called ‘NEET’.
Contacting 250 individuals – by first name – has resulted in some 35 have calling back. It’s exciting times. Tomorrow we’ll be working with the number of young people that turn up on perhaps one of the biggest issues facing young people, not just in Portsmouth, but across the UK and beyond. The impact of the jobless youth on the culture of Britain and the wider world will resonate beyond the immediate and into the lives of future generations.
So zooming back to the City of Portsmouth the question has to be, what can a small training provider do to make the difference? Well, our team has been working tirelessly to engage with young people, using clever marketing techniques, pouring over every syllable to make sure it sends the right message, using motivational techniques when speaking on the phone. Basically, using every ounce of our expertise in working with young people to ensure they feel they have the power and confidence to act. And that’s the key word for us…‘Empowerment’.
Empowerment for what is clearly a marginalised group is surely the strongest weapon we have in solving the massive problem that is youth unemployment. And clearly, from my point of view, it seems that people are missing this key ingredient.
But just empowering young people is not enough, and it’s clear to me that as well as being confident to go out there and grab opportunities – neatly arranged by Youthforce of course – it’s clear some tools are needed.
One tool I believe as essential is the use of Personal Branding. The marketing of ‘self’. Figuring out who you really are and promoting yourself to the target audience – our nation of employers for one. And not only that – promoting yourself so you stand out from the crowd. Considering the level of advice and guidance young people currently receive in the Schools and communities across the UK, it’s clear that young people don’t stand a snow ball’s chance in hell of gaining employment ahead of more mature, self-aware candidates – unless they get this figured out.
So how does Youthforce help young people make the difference by developing their brand? Well, a key to this is the creation of a personal statement using the following approach.
We work carefully to find out what makes young people tick. And that’s not easy bearing in mind the changes young people experience during adolescence. Enabling them to experience their qualities and key attributes is essential.
We enable young people to consider the ‘so what?’ What does your quality mean for people out there – particularly the all important employers? This helps form a personal USP ensuring young people are prepared to sell themselves to a target audience
Narrowing this down further we look to ensure that this message is targeted to the right people. By identifying qualities and figuring out the ‘so what?’ we are able to help young people direct their energy and message to the right employers, drastically improving their chances of being given a chance.
And it’s amazing what effect this process has for young people. You literally see them shine as they realise their worth, their quality and combined confidence. No doubt tomorrow will bring more learning for the Youthforce team as
we deal with the complicated beast that is youth unemployment. We do have one thing on our side as an organisation that we learnt a long time ago – our belief in young people and how formidable they are. As Einstein is reputed to have once said:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
We just help the swimmers realise where to swim, and the climbers where to climb…
factor in improving people’s lives, and strive to support young people work across the UK.
In support of this goal, Youthforce has engaged with local employers to offer Apprenticeship vacancies in the following locations:
More vacancies come on board every day. To register your interest in attending one of our ‘Employability Days’ where you have the chance to apply for apprenticeships in a range of sectors.
Current vacancies include the following occupational areas:
Contact us for more information