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Wine college raises a glass to its pound;70,000 donors

Plumpton College, a leading centre for teaching wine making, has received a pound;70,000 donation from a Bordeaux chateau to fund research. With funds matched by the UK Government, the East Sussex college has appointed Dr Belinda Kemp full-time lecturer and research co-ordinator in wine, thanks to the contribution by Chateau de Sours. Owner Martin Krajewski, whose daughter graduated from the college, said that consultants for his wine business would lecture while the chateau would benefit from the college's expertise in sparkling and rose wines, as well as sending students to Bordeaux for experience.

Young offenders training `outstanding' for raising esteem

Education for young offenders at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre has been rated outstanding by inspectors. Operated by G4S - formerly Group 4 Securicor - following a transfer from The Manchester College earlier this year, the centre for 12 to 17-year-olds was praised for achievement and standards which were highly effective in raising self-esteem for young people, helping them return to their communities. Inspectors praised the use of restorative justice principles, which focus on taking responsibility and repairing harm done, in the approach to managing the behaviour of young offenders.

Michael Davis is interim chief of skills commission

Michael Davis has been appointed interim chief executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), following the retirement at the end of the year of Chris Humphries. Currently the director of strategy and performance at the commission, which advises the Government on skills and the economy, Mr Davis will take over for six months from January. Charlie Mayfield, recently appointed new chairman of the UKCES, said: "I am delighted that Michael is to be our new interim chief executive. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the job and I look forward to working with him over this next phase in the commission's life."

Boris to target City in push for 20,000 apprenticeships

London Mayor Boris Johnson has pledged to create more than 20,000 new apprenticeships this academic year, with firms in the City the number one target. The initiative is to be supported by the National Skills Academy for Financial Services, whose chief executive Sylvia Perrins said: "The financial services sector is putting itself ahead of the game, realising that with increased university tuition fees there will be a shortage of graduates in years to come as well as being attractive to those people who are put off incurring several years of debt through student loans. In some sectors of financial services, uptake has been growing, particularly in insurance and with some investment banks. We could make a real impact if the retail banking sector were to join this growing club and wholeheartedly embrace apprenticeships."

Conference honours two lecturers for research work

Two lecturers received awards for their research at the Learning and Skills Research Network annual conference last week. First prize went to Sarah Housden, from Norfolk Adult Education, who examined successful factors in reminiscence work, where older people work together to recall and share memories, building up a sense of history and community. A runner-up prize went to Bert Clough from the TUC, who researched the benefits of collective learning funds, which pool workplace resources to increase value for money and encourage learning. Professor Yvonne Hillier from the University of Brighton, who led the judging panel, said: "Both papers provide insights for future development of the support and promotion of learning for adults who would not normally consider themselves part of the learning and skills system."

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