FE news at a glance

Apprenticeships: then and now

New historical research reveals how apprenticeships have changed over the past 100 years. The figures were released by the National Apprenticeship Service to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. In 1914, the most popular trade for apprenticeships was dressmaking, whereas today health and social care tops the list. Meanwhile, trades such as drapery, millinery and tailoring have given way to business administration, management, and hospitality and catering. However, engineering and construction were popular in both time periods. Most apprentices in 1914 started work aged 15-17, compared with 19-24 today. In 1914, women made up just 22 per cent of apprentices, a figure that has increased significantly to 55 per cent.

Prolonged strikes imminent at Lambeth College

Strike-hit Lambeth College in South London is bracing for two months of industrial action from members of the University and College Union in an ongoing dispute over contracts. The walkout was due to begin yesterday, with staff planning to escalate action each week in the run-up to Christmas. The UCU warned that if the dispute were not resolved by the end of the year, staff would pick up where they left off next term before walking out indefinitely from 19 January. The row centres on contracts introduced for new staff in April this year. Principal Mark Silverman said he was "disappointed" and was focused on making sure students' learning would not be disrupted.

New chair of 157 Group ready for `vital' work

Sarah Robinson, principal of Stoke on Trent College, has been elected as chair of the 157 Group of colleges for the next 12 months. Ms Robinson will replace Peter Roberts, chief executive of Leeds City College, who has been in post since November 2012. Ms Robinson said she was "delighted" to take on the role at an "immensely important time" for further education. "As next year's general election approaches, the 157 Group's role in influencing policy will be vital to securing the best possible education and skills system for learners and employers," she added.

Your help needed to mould professional body

The Education and Training Foundation has launched a major consultation on the future of professional membership in the FE and skills sector. The ETF took over the work of the Institute for Learning after the IfL closed in October because of financial concerns, and is developing a new professional body for people working in education and training. It has released a survey asking what benefits should be provided - for example, resources, CPD opportunities and national conferences. Current, former and non-members of the IfL are invited to take part in the survey.

Minister rejects call for FE workload survey

Business secretary Vince Cable has refused to extend the government's Workload Challenge survey of teachers to include the FE sector. The University and College Union had argued that college lecturers faced many of the same bureaucratic and inspection burdens as teachers and should therefore be included in the survey, which was hosted on the TES website. However, Mr Cable said that FE colleges were independent institutions, responsible for their own staffing and procedures.

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