Business Relationship Manager Peter Steel, was pleased to represent Open Awards at the 2016 Skills Summit in London on 18th February.
The event had a core theme “Pathways to Productivity” and was delivered by a range of influential speakers who all highlighted the need for a strong relationship between Colleges, Training Providers and Employers to maximise the planned education funding allocations up to and including 2020 and respond effectively to the skills required for the 21st century.
Sound impartial careers advice must also be provided in order to raise the awareness in school leavers of the options available so that they can make an informed choice in line with their needs, abilities and aspirations.
Three of the primary funding options were discussed at length – Apprenticeships, the Adult Education Budget and Work Experience, which all have a part to play to if we are to respond to the needs of the employers in meeting the skills gaps they currently experience.
Apprenticeships: with a target of 3m new Apprenticeship starts by 2020, the government has announced that there is an additional £25m for 16-18 Apprenticeships Growth Funding and an option to develop Degree Apprenticeships as a real and viable alternative to a university pathway.
“Projections indicate that over the next decade, there will be around 5 million new and replacement job openings for high skilled jobs (including management and professional roles) and 3.6 million openings for medium-skilled jobs (including skilled trades and associate professional/technical roles)”
For Public Sector Organisations, 2.3% of their workforce must be an Apprentice.
The Skills Funding Letter
(December 2015): which highlights the introduction of a new £1.5bn budget called the Adult Education Budget (AEB). This replaces what had been three separate strands – Funding for Adult Further Education outside Apprenticeships (previously held within the Adult Shills Budget), Community Learning and Discretionary Learning Support.
The letter also provides funding updates on:
Apprenticeships, Technical & Professional Education, Adult Learning Loans, Traineeships, Community Learning, The Youth Obligation, English & Maths, Offender Learning, Careers Advice & Guidance, Sub-Contracting, European Social Funding, Independent Training Providers, Area Reviews, Localisation and The Prevent Duty.
The letter also sets out the move towards a single entitlement offer for those aged 16-23 focused on high quality Technical and Professional qualifications at Levels 2 and 3.
For full details available here.
The Legal Entitlement for learners aged 19-23 still remains, meaning that learners will be fully funded for their first Level 2 and/or Level 3
For those who already hold a Level 3, the creation of the Advanced Learner Loan (formerly the 24+ Loan) and corresponding extension of access (19+ and for levels 3 – 6), will create more opportunities for those wishing to increase knowledge, skills and employment prospects.
Alongside entitlements, it is important that local areas, colleges and other training organisations decide on the most appropriate type of activity in order to meet locally agreed outcomes and learner needs.
A topic raised by many speakers as this could significantly impact upon the recruitment and retention of potential employees.
It was highlighted that 8 out of 10 school leavers are not ready or prepared for the world of work, with 97% of those employers surveyed saying that the lack of “soft skills” were vital to business success.
Communication Skills, Teamwork, Problem Solving, Time Management, Attitudes, Behaviours, Resilience and Confidence, were among those singled out as examples.
For school leavers to be fully prepared for the transition into the world of work, it was suggested that a minimum of 4 meaningful “Business Interactions” need to be completed (various durations). These interactions will develop an understanding of business expectations and in turn, reduce the likeliness of those learners becoming NEET.
With an every changing employment market, applicants need to be well positioned to respond to the complexity, competition and change they face.
It was highlighted that the Learning Enterprise Partnerships have a part to play in engaging with employers, to promote work experience and promote programme developments.
For information on the development of “Soft Skills” within your curriculum offer we have a number of regional “Drop In” sessions where you can meet with one of our experienced Business Relationship Managers, to discuss your curriculum offer or your interest in becoming an Open Awards registered Centre.
Meetings are held in Birmingham, London, Liverpool and Manchester. For full details, dates, venues and bookings, please click here.