FE news at a glance

London students need alternative to sixth form

Almost a third of young people in London who go to study at school sixth forms do not have the required grades, and a quarter drop out after their first year, a new report reveals. The study, commissioned by London Councils and produced by the University of London's Institute of Education, blames the issue on poor careers education, a lack of cooperation between education providers, and insufficient apprenticeship and vocational training opportunities. Peter John, London Councils' executive member for children, skills and employment, said: "At GCSE, London's children are the best in the country, but this level of achievement is not being carried through to post-16." He called on the government to reform careers guidance and rethink the funding cut for 18-year-olds in education.

University of Law offers vocational training

Top further education colleges in England have teamed up with the University of Law (ULaw) to create a vocational route for students who want to pursue a legal career. The new legal services apprenticeship programme will enable college students to gain practical workplace experience with leading legal employers while studying one day a week. FE lecturers will deliver the technical elements of the apprenticeships at one of ULaw's eight UK campuses. The scheme was designed in response to the increasing demand for highly skilled paralegals and legal services technicians. It is the first time that ULaw has offered a vocational qualification.

Analysis of FE praises independent providers

Independent training providers (ITPs) are outperforming further education colleges and employers in inspections, an analysis of Ofsted grades suggests. The report, from the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), shows that 65 per cent of ITPs gained good or outstanding grades in 2013-14, compared with 61 per cent of FE colleges and 40 per cent of employer-providers. However, 6 per cent of FE colleges were rated outstanding, compared with 2 per cent of ITPs. AELP chief executive Stewart Segal said the analysis was not about comparing providers but confirming that ITPs delivered good programmes.

Give employees options to get qualified, says CBI

More vocational routes should be made available for employees to achieve higher-level qualifications, according to the CBI. A report published this week by the organisation says that firms should do more to help staff achieve level 4 qualifications, which are expected to be necessary for half of all jobs by 2022. The report also stresses that colleges should focus on "delivering courses that are in demand in the economy by rewarding [learners] for specialisation and employment outcomes, not just for attendance". Gill Clipson, deputy chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said her organisation supported the idea in principle, and that colleges were "ideally placed" to provide qualifications such as foundation degrees, HNCs, HNDs and higher apprenticeships.

Birmingham hosts national careers show

The Skills Show, the UK's biggest skills and careers event, takes place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham this week. The three-day event, which started yesterday, will be attended by 75,000 young people. More than 50 hands-on activities are on offer at the venue, from furniture design and carpentry to games design and robotics. Last night, the overall winners of the National Apprenticeship Awards were announced, with 30 companies and individuals in the running for awards across 10 categories.

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