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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2004): Education - UK - Training

ADULT LEARNING IN NORTHERN IRELAND: INVESTIGATING FURTHER EDUCATION POLICIES FOR WIDENING PARTICIPATION

G. McAleavy, K. Collins and G. Adamsom

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, Vol. 9, 2004, p.83-104

The study assesses the needs of adult learners by examining issues that arise at student, tutor and manager level in order to produce strategic recommendations for improved provision in further education (FE). It looks at the barriers that inhibit access to colleges and learning - mainly either personal (students' fears about their ability to cope with the demands of courses), or logistical (child care, the financial aspects of studying and transport). The implications of these finding are discussed and the article highlights changes that are needed in course structure, teaching methods and college facilities. Five underrepresented groups are also identified - males from non selective schools, adults returning to education for the first time, adults affected by the "benefits trap", potential participants in rural areas and adults with a negative view of education- and the article stresses the importance of directing courses towards these groups.

APPRENTICESHIPS FOR 14 YEAR OLDS IMMINENT

K. Leason

Zero2nineen, June 2004, p.7

Education Secretary Charles Clarke has announced a new scheme in which 14 to 16 year olds will be able to spend up to two days a week out of the classroom, learning a trade in the workplace. Initial opportunities will be in engineering, automotive industries, business administration, logistics and the arts and creative industries, and recruits will have to meet certain achievement criteria.

CALL TO CLEAR UP CONFUSION OVER FURTHER EDUCATION BODIES

M. Green

Financial Times, June 17th 2004, p.2

The responsibilities of the Education Department and its £8bn-a-year skills agency are so confused that colleges and training providers are prevented from delivering government policies, according to a new report. The Independent review of bureaucracy in further education and training by Sir Andrew Foster, former head of the Audit Commission, called for a re- negotiation of the contract between the Department for Education Skills and the Learning and Skills Council.

CHALLENGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

B. Loader and L. Keeble

York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2004

The review looked for evidence of the effectiveness of community informatics initiatives in challenging the "digital divide" between those who are able to exploit ICTs and those who are not. It found that the use of public access and support sites by those perceived to be excluded from the benefits of ICTs is generally low. ICT training and education which replicate earlier negative feelings of failure are unlikely to attract underachievers. Almost all community informatics projects faced problems of sustainability, with the role of public involvement needing clarification. Negotiations between the government and commercial providers over pricing and regulation are likely to play a significant part in challenging differential patterns of access and usage.

FINDING THE NICHE: COMPETITION AND COLLABORATION FOR SIXTH FORM COLLEGES

A.R.J. Briggs

Education and Training, Vol. 46, 2004, p.119-126

The article uses a case study approach to explore the extent of competition and collaboration between sixth form colleges and other providers of post-16 education (further education colleges and school sixth forms). Data indicate that sixth form colleges have secured a niche in the post-16 education market as providers of full-time academic education, geared to the needs of students aiming at higher education.

GRADUATE TRAINING SCHEMES HAVE DEMONSTRABLY ACCELERATED PROMOTION PATTERNS

K. Hayman and A. Lorman

Career Development International, Vol. 9, 2004, p.123-141

The article explores whether organised graduate training schemes result in better career progression for graduates than ordinary graduate jobs. The career progression of graduates recruited, both directly to functional positions and onto the graduate training scheme, by a very large multi-product manufacturer based in the UK was examined. The graduates' recruitment, initial role, training, performance monitoring, job function, moves and promotion rates were compared. Results showed that graduates on the trainee scheme enjoyed greater career progression than their non-scheme peers, and that the company actively facilitated the personal development of the schemed graduates, while leaving the non-scheme graduates to make their own way. The article concludes that although investment in the best graduates through a graduate scheme should be a priority, companies are in danger of losing talented individuals by allowing many of those not on specific training programmes slip through the net. It advises that some aspects of the graduate training scheme be applied to non-scheme recruits in order to enhance the overall performance of the organisation.

IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY BY INCREASING COMPETENCE

J. Griffith

Working Brief, Issue 154, 2004, p.14-15

A recent survey by the Learning and Skills Council revealed that one in ten workers in England are not competent in their jobs and a fifth of job vacancies remain unfilled due to skills shortages. The report outlines two government initiatives aimed at improving the situation, Employer Training Pilots and the New Deal for Skills.

LEARNING IN SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED ENTERPRISES: TIME FOR A REAPPRAISAL

K. Forrester, J. Payne and C. Ross

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, Vol. 9, 2004, p.17-46

The article suggests a new approach to learning in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based on the social and cultural realities of the workplace. It presents an extended case study of firms and employees in South Yorkshire, using Engeström's approach to learning at work as a framework. The main sections are based on Engeström's four questions:

  • what are the subjects of learning, how are they defined and located?
  • why do they learn, what makes them make the effort?
  • what do they learn, what are the contents and outcomes of learning?
  • how do they learn, what are the key actions and processes of learning?

They attempt to demonstrate the complex interplay of formal and informal learning with other features of the workplace. The article concludes that further education, workforce development and lifelong learning should all be incorporated into SMEs' learning policies and that SMEs need to be aware of contemporary learning theories.

MODERN APPRENTICESHIPS: HITTING THE TARGET?

T. Spielhofer and D Sims

Education and Training, Vol. 46, 2004, p.112-118

The article presents results of a qualitative study that explored the extent to which "city employers" used modern apprenticeships to develop their workforces. It found that many of the large employers interviewed had very little knowledge of Modern Apprenticeships and regarded them as irrelevant to their business. Some employers with a greater knowledge of modern apprenticeships reported various benefits in using them, but even they identified serious barriers in getting other firms involved in using them. In particular, modern apprenticeships were criticised as being too complex and too bureaucratic.

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