UK Commission for Employment and Skills
This report assesses the progress that the UK has made toward becoming a world leader in skills, employment and productivity by 2020. It finds that the UK's position has barely changed since the Leitch report was published in 2006: 11th in the world in productivity levels; 10th in employment; 17th on 'low level' skills; 18th on 'intermediate level' skills; and 12th on 'high level' skills. The report lays out five key priorities:
The Guardian, Aug. 19th 2009, p. 4
Figures published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families show one in six people aged 18-24 are not in education, employment or training, that is 835,000 people or 100,000 more than this time last year. Trades unions are warning the impact could be severe and lasting. The article includes discussion of government policy and a chart showing the growing number of people affected.
Daily Telegraph, Aug.7th 2009, p. 6
More than 140 further education college building projects had to be put on hold after the Learning and Skills Council approved schemes that cost £2.7bn more than it could afford. Following a review, 13 of the building projects will now go forward at a cost of £714m, of which £544m will be taken from the public purse. While 40% of frozen projects were in Conservative and Liberal Democrat constituencies, all 13 of those that will go ahead are in Labour marginal seats.
Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee
London: TSO, 2009 (House of Commons papers, session 2008/09; HC 530)
The Building Colleges for the Future programme, delivered through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), provided funding for the upgrade of the further education sector estate. Unfortunately no-one was keeping an eye on the total amount of money being committed and the value of applications coming forward. In December 2008, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the LSC suddenly realised that the cost of projects which had been approved in principle exceeded the capital budget and that many more applications were in the pipeline.
(See also Public Accounts Committee. Renewing the physical infrastructure of English further education colleges. London: TSO, 2009 (House of Commons papers, session 2008/09; HC924))
National Audit Office
London: TSO, 2009 (House of Commons papers, session 2008/09; HC879)
The Train to Gain service was introduced in April 2006 to support employers in improving the skills of their employees and to contribute to improved business performance. It had cost £1.47bn by March 2009. It comprises: a skills brokerage service to advise employers on identifying training needs and sourcing training; flexible training, which may be delivered in the workplace and at a convenient time; and full public funding of training for eligible employees taking specified courses. This report evaluates how effectively Train to Gain has been designed and implemented and assesses its performance in its first three years.