Wamitab eyes key role in new waste sector apprenticeships


http://m.mrw.co.uk/8682008.article

Wamitab eyes key role in new waste sector apprenticeships

28 April, 2015 | By Jack Loughran

Wamitab is interested in providing end-point assessments for the Trailblazer apprenticeships being developed for the waste sector, it has revealed.

Energy and Utility Skills (EU Skills) is working with companies including Viridor, FCC, Cory, Veolia and Grundon to implement new apprenticeship standards in September. The number of apprentices involved has not yet been revealed.

The initiative is part of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) Trailblazing Apprenticeship scheme.

Wamitab said it was keen to become an Independent Assessment Organisation (IAO).

Chief executive Chris James said: “It is critical that the industry gets behind the initiative to ensure that it is relevant, delivers what employers want and complies with the rigorous standards of the relevant government agencies.”

IAOs will work with employers through their board of trustees, the technical advisory group and stakeholder partners.

The organisations will collaborate to provide independent end-point assessment for those enrolled on the scheme. Such independent assessment is a criteria of the new-style apprenticeships.

Wamitab is a charity that develops qualifications for cleaning, street cleansing, facilities management, resource management, recycling and parking from operative through to management level.

“Wamitab is well-placed to reshape not just the apprenticeships but the wider skills frameworks for the sector,” said James.

“We have over 25 years’ experience of working at the heart of the industry, shaping and developing a competent workforce by close partnership working with employers; training providers and the relevant government agencies.”

Careering towards a wall? Career guidance policy and election 2015


Originally posted on Adventures in Career Development:

Weird-car-crash-1-431x300

I have just published an article in the new issue of Graduate Market Trends. It is called Careering towards a wall? Career guidance policy and election 2015. Since I wrote it the situation has moved on a bit with announcements from Labour and the publication of the manifestos. However, the basic argument still stands, political parties aren’t paying enough attention to career development issues.

Election fever is gripping the nation. The volume of political noise is growing daily. However, so far this noise has focused on issues like Ed Miliband’s two kitchens and the fact that a seagull once stole David Cameron’s sandwich. But, as the election gets closer the main political parties might start to talk more seriously about policy. The question is whether career guidance will be one of the policies being talked about.

Read on…

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Learning {Re}imagined – Graham Brown Martin at TEDx


Originally posted on The Learning Renaissance:

Graham’s talk on the Education Revolution at TEDx Amsterdam…

Graham is a huge believer in the fact that education will only change by getting more people involved. In this engaging and witty talk packed with images and quotes, Graham discusses his research in Learning {Re}imagined, and some of his key conclusions around transformation and learning that include context, environment, engagement, technology and the future.

Graham Brown-Martin is the founder of Learning Without Frontiers (LWF), a global thinktank that brought together renowned educators, technologists and creatives to share provocative and challenging ideas about the future of learning. He left LWF in 2013 to pursue new programs and ideas to transform the way we learn, teach and live. Graham spent two years researching, travelling, writing and editing video to create the transmedia work, Learning {Re}imagined published by Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.

This talk was given at a TEDx event, using the TED conference…

View original 8 more words

Maintaining the Arts in Education


Originally posted on The Learning Renaissance:

We recently spoke of the impetus of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in education and the marginalising effect this was having on Arts in the curriculum.

Student-protest-at-the-Ro-007

This article by Suzanne Moore in the Guardian puts the debate in perspective: Our art schools have become finishing schools for a wealthy few | Suzanne Moore | The Guardian

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Retail Renovation Set to Stimulate Sheffield Job Growth


Originally posted on The blog of Learning Unlimited:

Sheffield City Council have appointed global consultancy company Turner and Townsend to provide support for the development of the new £480m Sheffield Retail Quarter, which is set to create around 2,500 jobs in the city.

The Sheffield Retail Quarter Development is set to span 900,000 square feet throughout the City Centre, creating improved retail links between The Moor and Fargate. Further to the dedicated retail outlets, at least a further 200,000 square feet of residential and office space is also set to be created.

The retail project, which is set to drive regeneration throughout Sheffield, is expected to be fully complete by 2021 – with 80% of the development set to be open for trading by late 2019. It is hoped the redevelopment will make the city around £291m a year in additional retail spend, creating 2,500 jobs in retail the retail industry upon completion.

It’s not just the City…

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‘Ofsted should stop treating colleges like big schools with apprenticeships added on’


https://www.tes.co.uk/news/further-education/breaking-views/‘ofsted-should-stop-treating-colleges-big-schools

‘Ofsted should stop treating colleges like big schools with apprenticeships added on’

It will be extremely interesting to see how the forthcoming Ofsted Common Inspection Framework is received in both theory and practice. A framework that unifies how schools and colleges are judged sounds fair and equitable on the surface but, of course, the devil will be in the implementation and there are a few important issues to consider.

Firstly, the move from away from inspecting subject sector areas to funding streams. Colleges are extremely complex, and can be difficult to compare to each other let alone to schools. Their curriculum is both broader and deeper in terms of levels, subject sector areas and funding streams (think 16-18 study programmes, apprenticeships, college higher education, 14-16 and adult provision). Mechanisms need to be in place to appropriately weight the provision to balance the judgements across types without belittling college education and training to look like a big school with apprenticeships added on.

With subject sector area grades gone, the second most import issue to consider is that value added and other progress measures will become much more important. Unfortunately value added as a progress measure is problematic. It only measures progress on level three programmes for a start, so is only a fair comparator between a college and school sixth form when the college has level three dominated provision.

There are also serious inequities in the value added methodology itself. College students are just as bright as their counterparts studying at school, but it is a fact that they often recruit a larger proportion of students from more deprived wards. The level three value added measure does not take in to account the impact of deprivation.

Colleges often enrol students at 17 after a year of failing or gaining AS levels with poor grades and are great at turning these students around with a good grade in a valuable vocational qualification. The methodology unfortunately includes all level three qualifications taken by a student, even if they were taken at another institution – dragging the average performance down. This is a problem that impacts colleges much more than schools, as it is extremely rare for a student to drop out of college and go back to school.

The lack of a common Key Stage 4 baseline year is also very likely to disadvantage colleges and does not show the true value that colleges add. The Department for Education, under the coalition government, recognised that value added is a poor measure of skills acquisition and pledged to remove the measure for tech levels in the 2016/17 reforms. Another sensible measure being introduced is the completion measure that should close the loophole that encourages institutions to withdraw students that they expect to do badly.

The third and final issue to consider is the movement towards a more mixed bag of progress, accountability and outcome based success measures. As we move to an age of measurement that is more outcome rather than output orientated, I am hopeful once again that colleges will be able to more than prove their worth. We haven’t gone as far as weighting ‘preparing or getting someone in to work’ more highly than getting someone to university, but at least we are moving in the right direction.

David Corke is director of education and skills policy at the Association of Colleges.

Tories ‘to fund apprenticeships with bank fines’


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32491591

A Conservative government would use fines imposed on Deutsche Bank for its involvement in rigging interest rates to fund 50,000 apprenticeships, David Cameron has announced.

The Conservative leader said the scheme would “train young people and get them off the dole and in to work”. 

It comes on top of three million apprenticeships the party has pledged over the next Parliament if re-elected.

Labour said the number of young people starting apprenticeships had fallen.

The Conservatives’ latest apprenticeship pledge will target people aged between 22 and 24 who have been unemployed for more than six months.

The £200m cost of the scheme will be paid for out of the £227m fine that Deutsche Bank received earlier this week for trying to manipulate Libor and Euribor inter-bank lending rates.

Mr Cameron said: “We’re going to take the fines from the banks who tried to rig markets – and we’re going to use it to train young people and get them off the dole and into work.”

During a campaign visit in north London, the prime minister again promised to give everything to get his party re-elected, urging people to “let rip” with any concerns they had between now and polling day to ensure a “lively and vigorous” debate on the future of the country.

How will funding cuts impact on the future of adult education?


http://www.fenews.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11523&Itemid=100124&hootPostID=693038e3510f51c76f7186d1e6ab5e37

he cuts to funding for adult skills in 2015-16 have been widely documented in the last month, with the Association of Colleges (AoC) warning that up to 190,000 adult education places could be lost next year and noting the possibility of adult education disappearing completely if cuts to the skills budget continue.

Funding issues have already contributed to the number of adults taking part in Level 3 courses falling by nearly 18%, and there are strong concerns within the sector that ongoing cuts could spell the end of courses that upskill thousands of employees and adults seeking work.

However, the government has reassured that although overall funding is being cut – by 24% for 2015-16 – high qualityapprenticeships, traineeships and English and maths are being prioritised to ensure that learners are literate and numerate, with vocational qualifications of prestige. These are the areas in which the government believes the most impact can be made.
At NCFE, we’re passionate about the value of adult education. In learning, one size doesn’t fit all and it’s important to offer choice and variety, enabling people of all ages to fulfil their potential and progress in their lives to higher education or employment. Vocational qualifications for adults offer important training opportunities that plug skills gaps and help get people into work or retrain for a different career to improve their prospects.

The AoC has said that health, public services and care courses could see a drop of 40,000 places over the coming year, so we have been working to ensure that our vocational qualifications have their funding protected. We now have over 100 funded qualifications available for 15-16 with further qualifications pending approval, including courses within Health and Social Care as well as substantial qualifications such as Entry to the Uniformed Services.

In addition, we’re really pleased that our Entry Level and Level 1 English and maths qualifications have been added to the SFA’s funding catalogue for 2015-16 in their latest update this week. These qualifications are fantastic for those learners who have an identified skills gap and need a little extra help achieving their GCSE A* – C or Level 2 Functional Skill. They’re also useful for colleges and training providers who are looking to tailor their programmes of study to learner needs and offer clear progression routes.

Adult education is particularly integral in an aging population where people are retiring later and having multiple careers within their working life. Equally, adults need to be competent in English and maths to help them to function confidently in their day to day lives, and it’s so important that we’re able to support this development. It’s not just the young who are worth investing in. We believe that learning is for life and we hope that our fundable qualifications for 15-16 allow our centres to support their learners’ journeys.

David Grailey is chief executive of NCFE, the national awarding organisation

Could your students have the next big idea in education?


http://www.fenews.co.uk/fe-news/could-your-students-have-the-next-big-idea-in-education

Could your students have the next big idea in education?

Monday, 27 April 2015 09:36 The question that we’re constantly asking ourselves in further education (FE) is: “How can we use technology innovatively to support exceptional student experiences?”. 

For college principals and teachers, trying to come up with new solutions to enhance learning is clearly a big ask. Yet, technological developments should not only be made from the top down. Think for a moment just how powerful it would be to ask the students themselves how digital technologies could support them in their studies. It sounds simple, but inviting their opinion and involving them in the development means that you’re actually getting what students want and need.

Summer of Student Innovation 

At 
Jisc , we’ve been doing just that with Summer of Student Innovation , our annual competition that asks learners to come up with solutions to improve learning, teaching and research through technology. The competition invites students to put forward new and novel ideas on technology that could transform education for them, with the best ones then selected to receive funding and support from Jisc for development.

Having grown-up with technology, students tend to be highly capable, confident and well-placed to comment on where it could play a transformative role, and I’m always hugely impressed by the calibre of entries we receive. In the past we’ve seen everything from tools to improve feedback between staff and students, to a ‘murder mystery’ game on a university campus that students make the transition from further to higher education (HE).

Success at Sussex Downs 

One of the most promising ideas from last year’s cohort came from Lukas and Kamil Ondrej, brothers from
 Sussex Downs College in East Sussex. Their winning idea was Lingoflow , a language-learning app design to allow learners to create their own collections of vocabulary, score them on their recollection, and then encourage repetition of the less well-known terms and phrases.

As Lingoflow was developed over a series of summer workshops, we quite quickly realised it could have real benefit to anyone trying to get to grips with a new language. When the initial Summer of Student Innovation run came to an end in the autumn we decided to 
offer further development support and extra fundingto help turn it into a fully functioning product. A few months down the line I’m pleased to say that Lukas and Kamil are close to launching a new and improved Lingoflow app and website, including brand new features.

Ideas in FE 

As Lukas and Kamil’s case demonstrates, learners in FE are very capable of coming up with ideas, but it can be difficult for young people who don’t always have the technical know-how to get their ideas off the ground.

With Summer of Student Innovation now in its third year, we want to make sure that learners in FE get a chance to express their ideas. For the first time there is a
competition strand specifically for learner led projects in FE or work-based learning. We’re not expecting these students to come to us with a fully-functioning solution. Instead, it is meant to encourage students to join up with their college or work-based learning provider, come up with ideas and work together to develop them, all with Jisc support.

Getting involved in Summer of Student Innovation is hugely beneficial for everyone. Students get the opportunity to gain important design, entrepreneurial and project management skills as they work up their ideas, while for the staff and participating organisation it ensures they stay at the forefront of new technology developments.

To help get people started we’ll be hosting a 
webinar to offer guidance, and ideas generation workshops in Bristol Birmingham and Newcastle . We have also pulled together some written guidance on how to create an idea . Entry is then made via a short video pitch, summary and 500 word description of your idea on the Jisc Elevator websitedetailing the benefits and how it will impact upon research and education. Applications are open until 18 May – good luck!

Paul Bailey is a senior co-design manager at Jisc, which provides digital solutions for UK education and research

Acquisition of A4e and Trading Update – London Stock Exchange


http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/12329825.html

STAFFLINE GROUP PLC

(‘Staffline’ or ‘the Group’)

 

Acquisition of A4e and Trading Update

 

Staffline (AIM: STAF), the Staffing services, outsourcing, training and Employability organisation, providing people and operational expertise to industry, is pleased to announce today that it has agreed to acquire A4e Limited (“A4e”), a leading provider of welfare to work and skills training services across the UK, on a debt free/cash free basis for a total consideration of £34.5 million (the “Acquisition”). 

 

Highlights

·     The Acquisition represents a highly complementary fit with Staffline’s existing Employability division, accelerating the Group’s growth strategy and bringing a number of strategic benefits and revenue synergies.

 

·     Staffline has agreed to acquire A4e’s entire issued share capital for £23.5 million and will assume A4e’s net debt of £11 million.  The consideration of £34.5 million represents a multiple of 2.5 times the A4e unaudited EBITDA for the year ended 31 March 2015.  

 

·     The cash consideration is being funded through increased debt facilities provided by the Groups existing bankers.  The Groups facilities will now comprise a £35.0 million term loan, £20.0 million loan notes and increased existing working capital facilities of £30 million. 

 

·     A4e is a profitable, cash generativebusiness expected to deliver revenues of approximately £140 million, EBITDA of £13.8 million and profit before tax of £10.2 millionfor the year ended 31March 2015. The Directors expect the Acquisition to be significantly earnings enhancing and to increase underlying diluted earnings per share for the period ended 31 December 2015 by approximately 26%.   

 

·     Following the Acquisition, Staffline will become one of the largest Work Programme providers in the UK in terms of the number of jobseekers supported and contracted regions serviced, with a Work Programme presence in nine CPAs (regions) as a prime contractor and sixfurther regions as a sub-contractor. This is a key long term growth initiative for theGroup.

 

·     The Group will have the greatest geographical reach of all Work Programme providers covered by over 150 locations nationwide, which will offer employer engagement and partnership opportunities with Staffline’s established OnSite presence throughout the UK.

 

·     The combined Group will be able to provide a wide range of services across the sectors of Employability, Skills and Justice, including access to financial advice as well as to health, social and relevant advisory services.

 

·     The increased scale and scope of services and the Group’s proven track record of results will position the business strongly for the future and enable Staffline to maximise opportunities in the Employability, Skills and Justice sectors, creating significant shareholder value. 

 

·     The Group has seen a strong start to the new financial year, with Staffing Services securing a record 28 OnSites in Q1 (taking the number of OnSites to over 260) and the new business pipeline remaining excellent.

Andy Hogarth, Chief Executive, Staffline commented:

We are delighted to be announcing today the acquisition of A4e. This is an exciting milestone in Staffline‘s growthconsiderably expanding the size and geographic reach of our Employability offering and will result in the combined business being one of the largest Work Programme providers in the UK. 

 

The significant strengths of both businesses will be united and we are confident that our leadingposition will be a strong platform from which to develop our strategy, services and innovation 

 

We look forward to creating a winning team and business, and delivering significant shareholder value.”

 

Andrew Dutton, Group CEO, A4e commented: 

We are today starting a new chapter in the history of A4e. Staffline is exactly the right fit for us: its ambitions, robust financial position and its people and business values will all support the combined business as we grow together and build on our position as a leading Work Programme provider in the UK. 

 

A4e is now in the perfect ownership to both develop our customers and support our employer relationships and I wish the combined business every success in the future.”

Conference call and presentation

A conference call for analysts and investors will be held at 8:30 a.m. this morning. For dial-in details please contact Buchanan. 

Acquisition of A4e and Trading Update – London Stock Exchange

 

For Immediate Release

27 April 2015

 

STAFFLINE GROUP PLC

(‘Staffline’ or ‘the Group’)

 

Acquisition of A4e and Trading Update

 

Staffline (AIM: STAF), the Staffing services, outsourcing, training and Employability organisation, providing people and operational expertise to industry, is pleased to announce today that it has agreed to acquire A4e Limited (“A4e”), a leading provider of welfare to work and skills training services across the UK, on a debt free/cash free basis for a total consideration of £34.5 million (the “Acquisition”). 

 

Highlights

·     The Acquisition represents a highly complementary fit with Staffline’s existing Employability division, accelerating the Group’s growth strategy and bringing a number of strategic benefits and revenue synergies.

 

·     Staffline has agreed to acquire A4e’s entire issued share capital for £23.5 million and will assume A4e’s net debt of £11 million.  The consideration of £34.5 million represents a multiple of 2.5 times the A4e unaudited EBITDA for the year ended 31 March 2015.  

 

·     The cash consideration is being funded through increased debt facilities provided by the Groups existing bankers.  The Groups facilities will now comprise a £35.0 million term loan, £20.0 million loan notes and increased existing working capital facilities of £30 million. 

 

·     A4e is a profitable, cash generativebusiness expected to deliver revenues of approximately £140 million, EBITDA of £13.8 million and profit before tax of £10.2 millionfor the year ended 31March 2015. The Directors expect the Acquisition to be significantly earnings enhancing and to increase underlying diluted earnings per share for the period ended 31 December 2015 by approximately 26%.   

 

·     Following the Acquisition, Staffline will become one of the largest Work Programme providers in the UK in terms of the number of jobseekers supported and contracted regions serviced, with a Work Programme presence in nine CPAs (regions) as a prime contractor and sixfurther regions as a sub-contractor. This is a key long term growth initiative for theGroup.

 

·     The Group will have the greatest geographical reach of all Work Programme providers covered by over 150 locations nationwide, which will offer employer engagement and partnership opportunities with Staffline’s established OnSite presence throughout the UK.

 

·     The combined Group will be able to provide a wide range of services across the sectors of Employability, Skills and Justice, including access to financial advice as well as to health, social and relevant advisory services.

 

·     The increased scale and scope of services and the Group’s proven track record of results will position the business strongly for the future and enable Staffline to maximise opportunities in the Employability, Skills and Justice sectors, creating significant shareholder value. 

 

·     The Group has seen a strong start to the new financial year, with Staffing Services securing a record 28 OnSites in Q1 (taking the number of OnSites to over 260) and the new business pipeline remaining excellent.

Andy Hogarth, Chief Executive, Staffline commented:

We are delighted to be announcing today the acquisition of A4e. This is an exciting milestone in Staffline‘s growthconsiderably expanding the size and geographic reach of our Employability offering and will result in the combined business being one of the largest Work Programme providers in the UK. 

 

The significant strengths of both businesses will be united and we are confident that our leadingposition will be a strong platform from which to develop our strategy, services and innovation 

 

We look forward to creating a winning team and business, and delivering significant shareholder value.”

 

Andrew Dutton, Group CEO, A4e commented: 

We are today starting a new chapter in the history of A4e. Staffline is exactly the right fit for us: its ambitions, robust financial position and its people and business values will all support the combined business as we grow together and build on our position as a leading Work Programme provider in the UK. 

 

A4e is now in the perfect ownership to both develop our customers and support our employer relationships and I wish the combined business every success in the future.”

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Conference call and presentation

A conference call for analysts and investors will be held at 8:30 a.m. this morning. For dial-in details please contact Buchanan. 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

The Acquisition

 

A4e is a leading public service provider, serving tens of thousands of people in the UK and Australia and currently employs over 2,000 people.  The services it offers represent a highly complementary fit with Staffline’s existing Employability division, including employment and welfare, training, education, and financial advice.  Furthermore, its geographic footprint opens up five new Contract Package Areas (“CPA”) in addition to Staffline’s four current CPA’s, with no overlap in territory.

 

A4e is a profitable, cash generativebusiness expected to deliver revenues of approximately £140.0 million, EBITDA of £13.8 million and profit before tax of £10.2million for the year ended 31 March 2015. Gross assets total £30.1 million, including fixed assets of £14.0 million. 

 

Strategic Rationale 

Over the past four years, Staffline has been building its presence in the Welfare to Work, Skills and Justice markets as part of the Group’s defined growth strategy.  The Acquisition represents a significant further opportunity to accelerate growth plans in this area and brings a number of strategic benefits and revenue synergies.

 

The combination of Staffline’s Employability division and A4e will create one of the largest Prime Contractors of the Work Programme in the UK, operating in nine CPAs and six sub-contracted CPAs. It also positions the Group as a market-leader in the skills sector and has strengthened the Group’s services in Justice too.  

 

In addition, the combined business will benefit from:

 

·    An extensive geographic reach across the North West, the North East, South Yorkshire and Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands, Thames Valley, London and the South East;

·   The greatest geographical reach of all Work Programme providers, offering nationwide employer engagement and partnerships, as well as supporting local businesses and national organisations;

·   An enlarged range of services across the sectors of Employability, Skills and Justice, including a range of services to provide access to financial advice, access to health, social and relevant advisory services;

·   A greater choice of career opportunities for jobseekers, learners and employee / team members;

·   A combined scale which builds credibility, reputation and market position, creating a strong platform for Work Programme Plus and the ability to support both the national and local contract decision making agenda;

·   An experienced management team together with in-depth expertise at all levels of the organisation, enabling best practices, knowledge and ideas to be leveraged across the enlarged division; and

·   A greater capability and provision of offering; extending from pre-employment training through to placing people into work and then onto post-employment vocational training and support.

 

The Combined Entity

On completion of the Acquisition, A4e will be integrated with Staffline’s existing Welfare to Work business, Avanta.  Rod Jackson, currently Avanta’s Managing Director, will lead the combined business which will be rebranded ‘PeoplePlus‘ over the coming months.  

 

Andrew Dutton, the current A4e Chief Executive Officer, will work with the Staffline team for an initial period to assist in a smooth transition before stepping down to pursue other interests. Sir Robin Young, A4e’s Non-executive Chairman and the other Non-executive Directors, Neil Macdonald and Sarah Anderson, will step down from their roles with immediate effect.

 

The enlarged division will service the Work Programme CPAs from a network of over 150 locations nationwide, helping it to grow embedded relationships with national employers and supported by over 260 Staffline OnSite client locations. 

 

In addition to the Work Programme contracts the combined entity will have a number of contracts within the Employability, Skills and Justice arena including:

 

·           Skills Funding Agency – managing the Offender’s Learning and Skills Service (“OLASS 4″)

·           The Money Advice Service (“TMAS”)

·           Independent Living Services

·           New Enterprise Allowance scheme – supporting people to become self-employed

·           Steps to Success in Northern Ireland

·           Ministry of Justice, West Mercia and Warwickshire Transforming Rehabilitation

·           Suffolk County Council MyGo centre supporting youth employment

 

Staffline believes that following the Acquisition, the increased scale and scope of services and the Group’s proven track record of results will position the business strongly for the future and enable us to maximise opportunities in the Employability, Skills and Justice sectors. 

 

Staffline Trading Update

Staffline is also pleased to confirm that the current financial year ending 31 December 2015 has started strongly. In particular, Staffing Services has had its strongest ever start to a year, with 28 OnSite wins in the first quarter. The need to drive efficiencies, especially amongst retail customers, is generating good opportunities and although the overall trading climate remains demanding, the Group is still enjoying an excellent new business pipeline across both new and existing customers. 

 

Additional detail on A4e

A4e was founded in 1991 to deliver pilot programmes for unemployed people in South Yorkshire.  Today it is a leading public service provider, serving tens of thousands of people in the UK and Australia and employs over 2,000 people.

 

The aim of A4e is to:

·    Support people to find and keep jobs, and help others set up their own businesses

·    Deliver skills and training to ensure people can access the right employment and enhance their career prospects

·    Reduce the risk of reoffending by tackling the root causes of crime and offending

·    Provide access to financial advice

·    Improve access to health, social and relevant advisory services

 

A4e also works with a wide network of over 2,000 employers, from large multi-nationals to small and medium sized companies, helping them recruit and train staff at all levels.

 

In 2011 the company investigated allegations of fraud by some employees on a small contract based in the Thames Valley.  In March 2015 a number of ex-employees were convicted by the Crown Court and sentenced.  The company has been audited numerous times since 2011 and has demonstrated that there has been no other instances of fraud.  In addition, a significant investment has been made in the company’s IT infrastructure, compliance and back office functions in order to strengthen internal controls.  

How the job of a teacher compares around the world


http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2014/sep/05/how-the-job-of-a-teacher-compares-around-the-world

There has long been a fascination with comparing the UK’s teaching system with what’s in place elsewhere in the world.

Everyone from Ofsted chief Michael Wilshaw to the former education secretary Michael Gove have expressed admiration for Singapore’s education system, where young pupils achieve highly in maths.

Research has now found that the education system in Finland offers the best value for money, with teachers achieving high Pisa scores, despite getting moderate salaries and teaching relatively large classes.

The study of 30 OECD member nations by Gems Education Solutions, compared government average spends on teaching, which makes up 80% of most education budgets, with pupil results in Pisa tests assessing the reading, maths and science skills of 15 year olds.

CLICK ON LINK ABOVE TO READ FULL REPORT. 

Thinking of those in Kathmandu. 


Apprenticeship blog and its followers prayers are with all those caught in the disaster in Nepal. 

For all those suffereing loss and those involved in the rescue mission our thoughts are with you. 

Please take time to help by donating to the Red Cross appeal at the link below. 

Having been to Nepal and Everest I feel particularly strong about supporting those in need so please give as much as you can. 

http://m.redcross.org.uk/en/Home/About-us/News/2015/April/After-the-earthquake-appeal-launched-for-Nepal
Thank you 

The 6 Major Skills for 21st Century Students


http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2015/01/the-6-major-skills-for-21st-century-students.html?m=1

Here is a short two pages PDF document from ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) which features the six major fluencies (standards) students need to develop in the 21st century classroom. Each of these fluencies is broken down into various skills all of which work in unison to cultivate the target fluency. From all the resources I have shared here on the 21st century teaching and learning, this document is by far the most comprehensive and practical. It touches on almost all the skills and competencies required to build an intellectually, socially, culturally, and digitally apt student. Here is a quick round-up of the six major fluencies included and you can access and download the the full document from this LINK.


1 – Creativity and innovation
“Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology”

2- Communication and collaboration
“Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others”.

3- Research and Information fluency
“Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.”

4- Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
“Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources”

5- Digital citizenship
“Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.”

6- Technology operations and concepts
“Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.”

The human cost of funding cuts: diversity declines among college leaders


http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/apr/23/funding-cuts-diversity-college-leaders?CMP=share_btn_tw

Anthony Bravo believes he would never have been appointed principal of Basingstoke College without the support of a government bursary to train and recruit black staff into senior management posts.

“There were no opportunities to progress for non-white leaders and managers,” he says. 

“My principal wouldn’t pay for my leadership training because there was someone else he reckoned deserved it more, even though they were near to retirement. Only when I came up with the funds from the Black Leadership Initiative (BLI) would he let me go – he could hardly refuse.”

Bravo was overlooked numerous times and suffered so many rejections that he was about to quit further education when an offer finally came. He was not alone: back in 2000, the Network of Black and Asian Professionals (NBAP) had numerous testimonies from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff frustrated in their attempts to enter management.

It wasn’t until the Macpherson inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 2001 that any significant improvements were made. A Commission on Black Staff in Further Education revealed the extent of the problem. At the time of publication Michael Peters, chair of the commission, said they found that fewer than one in 20 colleges had a race equality policy and only 16% had any black or Asian managers. He was concerned that colleges did not take racial discrimination claims seriously enough and that the lack of successful role models for black and Asian students led to low aspirations and underachievement.

Government-backed initiatives to raise awareness and improve training for BAME staff through the BLI saw the number of black principals rise from four in 2002 to 17 in 2012. There was also significantly higher representation at all levels of management and clear indications of improved student attainment. Now, however, those hard-fought opportunities are disappearing. The deep spending cuts and wholesale deregulation under the coalition government have removed the ladders and monitoring that underpinned progress.

Latest official figures show diversity is in decline. There are now just 14 BAME college principals; if the numbers appropriately reflected the ethnic composition of the student population that should be 51. To get a more detailed picture is fraught with difficulty, according to the NBAP; workforce data on ethnic minority employment in colleges, compiled by the Education and Training Foundation(ETF), is of little use because the return of figures is voluntary. Only one in three colleges now submit data – many others say they no longer have the time, staff, resources or requirement to do it.

detailed research study from the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) in 2013 warned about the threat funding cuts posed to the gains. Reduced resources were already taking their toll, according to the report, which said that progress in recruiting more BAME college principals “may have stalled”. The report made extensive recommendations to sustain the initiative and called for a stronger focus on under-representation not only in college management but also in governing bodies, the inspectorate and national funding agencies.

But with the ETF replacing LSIS as the improvement body, and government funds cut from £147m to around £18m, the ETF said it lacked the money to sustain BLI programmes. Where funding had once included a three-year £600,000 pilot initiative, the BLI was reduced to a £35,000 training bursary. All equality and diversity initiatives – whether for ethnic minorities, women or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups – were rolled into one. Critics suggested this increased the competition for limited resources.

Nevertheless, the ETF has set an aspirational target for college leadership and management to reflect the ethnic make-up of the student population by 2020. College leaders and managers, however, say such goals are hampered by the lack of a clear strategy. Anthony Bravo said: “The idea of 37 new black principals by 2020, that’s not going to happen. At the moment, the numbers are going down. Now there is no money, the only pragmatic answer I can see is to make equality and diversity an Ofsted-limiting grade factor. That would at least frighten people into action.”

Rajinder Mann, chief executive of the NBAP, calls for stronger support for the mentoring, support networks and induction programmes – hallmarks of the government-backed schemes of old. “It’s about valuing diversity. There needs to be a clear commitment from the top in our sector, with targeted interventions. The last thing we want is tokenism, to be accepted because we are black. 

“The ETF targets are not realistic at present; they are described as ‘aspirational’ and ‘stretch targets’. But you need a national strategy, a mechanism, to underpin that. Don’t give me funding just to upskill some individuals because that won’t change the organisation and there will simply be greater resentment from those who lose out. In the long run this is more damaging as it raises aspirations which leads to frustration if there is no progression.”

The argument for “organisational reform” and investment in diversity training was central to the McKinsey Diversity Matters report last autumn. Mann says: “They pointed out the statistically significant relationship between a more diverse leadership and better financial performance, with ethnicity playing a significant part.” Her view that such spending is investment not cost echoes findings of both the Macpherson and LSIS reports and supported the idea of “ringfencing funding for the BLI”.

Dame Asha Khemka, principal of West Nottinghamshire College, says that awareness takes one only so far. After a rapid rise from part-time lecturer to vice principal in 10 years, the next step proved very hard. “Looking back on my career I cannot underestimate how valuable the BLI Shadowing and BLI High Fliers’ Programme were to me. Not only did they raise my profile with senior figures within FE, but they enabled me to explore the policy and the mechanics of leadership first-hand.”

For Andy Forbes, principal of Hertford Regional Colleges and a leading member on the race equality working group, strong empathy and leadership from central government are essential. “We had strong support for the BLI from central government, sector skills councils and the funding agencies, but after the banking crisis and arrival of the coalition government almost all resources drained away. There is a very small amount compared with the funding going in when you felt a tangible sense of progress.”

His worry is that “racial issues are acknowledged but not acted on until there are riots”. He speaks from the experience of having been a senior manager at Oldham College during the 2001 race riots – the result, he says, of extensive deprivation and poor race relations. “My concern now is that the latest Muslim concerns and whole Prevent agenda has obscured and sidelined the real race issues. I’m not sure central government understands this.”

The further education leadership and management series is funded by Zurich Municipal. All content is editorially independent except for pieces labelled “brought to you by”. Find out more here.

Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain


https://hbr.org/2015/01/mindfulness-can-literally-change-your-brain?utm_source=newsletter_daily_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=alert_date&cm_ite=DailyAlert-010915+(1)&cm_lm=rogerfrancis6@gmail.com&referral=00563&cm_ven=Spop-Email&cm_mmc=email-_-newsletter-_-daily_alert-_-alert_date

The business world is abuzz with mindfulness. But perhaps you haven’t heard that the hype is backed by hard science. Recent research provides strong evidence that practicing non-judgmental, present-moment awareness (a.k.a. mindfulness) changes the brain, and it does so in ways that anyone working in today’s complex business environment, and certainly every leader, should know about.
CLICK ON ABOVE LINK TO READ FULL HBR ARTICLE. 

Great Entrepreneurs Share These Six Traits – And Some May Surprise You


http://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2015/04/22/great-entrepreneurs-share-these-six-traits-and-some-may-surprise-you/?linkId=13759733

What does it take to be successful as an entrepreneur? It’s a frequently asked question. Common answers are passion, smarts, audacity—not to mention the ability to work 70-hour weeks with no end in sight.

However, there are other traits that can be just as advantageous but might not fit into our typical profile of the high-flying entrepreneur. In particular, here are six characteristics that can help you thrive in your entrepreneurial pursuits:

1. You are genuine

In a world where everyone wants to build their brand, be an expert, and get attention on social media, just being a genuine person is an increasingly rare quality. It’s also a huge competitive advantage, as no one wants to work with a phony. You should pursue a business if you genuinely care about solving a problem or improving people’s lives in some way. Forget about all the hype surrounding “launching a startup” and just be yourself.

2. You can take a break

Most people think that the best entrepreneurs live, eat, sleep, and breathe the business. However, it’s usually the opposite. Great business owners are typically grounded, well rested, and healthy. By taking care of yourself, you are better able to take care of your business, employees, and customers.

There are numerous ways to take a break from the business. Keep your exercise routine up, no matter how hectic your schedule gets. Hang out with friends and family. Meditate, go to a museum, take a long walk, or just put your phone aside. Any of these activities will give you the physical and emotional boost needed to make it through the tough weeks.

3. You know when to cut your losses

I will be the first to admit that nothing came particularly easy to me as an entrepreneur, and I needed to persevere through some very tough times. Grit and determination are critical, but you also need to know when to cut your losses and move on. Clinging to a bad decision is a surefire way to run your business into the ground.

When something isn’t working and circumstances are stacked against you, it’s best to stop, change gears, and move forward in a different direction. After all, the best decision is the one that works, not necessarily the first one.

More AllBusiness:
99 Inspirational Quotes for Entrepreneurs
A 12-Step Guide to Building Your Very First Mobile App
10 Invaluable Tools for Running a Small Business
The Top 25 Home-Based Business Ideas

4. You don’t know everything

The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t know-it-alls. They aren’t even the smartest people. So how do they do it? They know when to ask for help and surround themselves with smart, talented people.

Some entrepreneurs may think they have no weak points, but it’s simply not possible to be an expert in all things. The key is to identify where your weaknesses are: operations, sales, marketing, employee management, etc. Then rely on someone else for those areas. Remember, you don’t have to be a financial guru to hire a great accountant or CFO.

5. You can say no

When you are new to entrepreneurship, it is tempting to go for any and every opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s a last-minute client request or new potential market. However, success doesn’t come from taking on everything, but rather your ability to prioritize all of these opportunities. As Steve Jobs said, “I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”

Set your priorities and use them as a guide for evaluating each new opportunity and request. Most importantly, keep in mind that saying no to something doesn’t mean you are not a nice person. You’re just setting your own priorities and boundaries.

6. You’re empathetic

Great entrepreneurs understand that business is more about people than money or sales. Instead of just creating new features and pushing new products, successful entrepreneurs build long-term relationships with employees and customers, think about their needs, and how they can help. Rather than rushing through your day, take the extra 15 minutes when talking to a customer or associate to really listen. It could end up being the most valuable 15 minutes of your whole week.

Do you agree? Are there other important traits to have as an entrepreneur?

Read all of Nellie Akalp’s articles on AllBusiness.com.