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In brief

Efficiency concerns

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills has called for suggestions on how to cut the number of organisations, processes and initiatives complicating the further education system. Michael Davis, the commission's director of strategy and performance, said he was concerned that the complexity had a direct cost in terms of reduced efficiency, quality and performance. The consultation, ending on August 18, will ask what targets should be set, how funding can be simplified and how to maximise the resources in frontline services.

Culture change

The sector skills council for the creative arts and cultural industries is bidding to deliver training and workforce development. Tom Bewick, chief executive of Creative and Cultural Skills, was due to meet Ben Bradshaw, Culture Secretary, and Yvette Cooper, Work and Pensions Secretary, this week to argue for a step-change in training. He says the skills council could deliver apprenticeships via an existing network of employers, colleges and training providers.

Apprentices honoured

Matt Dawson, the England and British Lions rugby player, presented the 2009 Apprentice of the Year awards in London last night. Mark Jefferson, from Market Harborough, was named Young Apprentice of the Year. Sinead Smith, from Gloucester, is the Apprentice of the Year, and Paul Boulton, from Alfreton, is the Advanced Apprentice of the Year.

Beacons of learning

A dozen FE providers have been awarded Learning and Skills Beacon status by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service. They are: 5E, London; Aquinas College, Stockport; Baldwin Training Centre, Eastbourne; Bedford College; Gateshead College; MPYOI Askham Grange, York; HTP Training, Isle of Wight; Mid-Cheshire College; Servisair UK, Manchester airport; South Devon College; Southend Adult Community College; and Venture Learning, Manchester.

Jumping for joy

A Newcastle-under-Lyme College student won a gold medal for the triple- jump at the World Youth Athletics Championships in Italy last week. Ben Williams, 17, who set a personal best record of 15.91m in Bressanone, now has his sights set on the 2016 Olympic Games. Ben is coached by John Crotty, a lecturer at the college.

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