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Further afield

National day of action protests against Esol cuts

A day of action took place yesterday to protest against cuts to teaching of English for speakers of other languages (Esol). Highlights of the protests included a mass teach-in at Old Palace Yard in Westminster, as well as rallies and marches across the country. A 20,000-name petition was also due to be delivered to 10 Downing Street, with campaigners warning that non-English speakers will be "caught in a trap of low-wage, insecure work". A spokesman for the Action for Esol campaign said: "This disastrous policy will leave many people without the opportunity to learn English. It contradicts every statement the Government has made about the importance of migrants learning English."

Cornwall takes lead with first carbon management plan

Cornwall College has become the UK's first FE institution to implement a carbon management plan (CMP). The college has pledged to cut a quarter from its 2008 CO2 emissions levels by 2020. In 2008, more than 6,700 tonnes of CO2 were emitted from buildings and transport across the college's seven sites. Raoul Humphreys, the college's deputy chief executive, said: "Cornwall as a region is moving towards becoming a leader in low carbon technologies and as a college that provides training with a strong environmental focus we need to reflect this in our own activities."

Skills inquiry seeks to boost `world class' technicians

The Skills Commission has launched a parliamentary inquiry into what the UK needs to do to cultivate more "world class" technicians. The cross- party inquiry, chaired by Professor Alison Halstead, will examine the future of technician and higher level skills, and look at what needs to be done to create extra technical training and apprenticeships. It will bring together employers such as National Grid, BT, Microsoft and E.ON to consider what action should be taken. Professor Halstead said: "This timely inquiry will build on the recent Wolf report on 14-19 education by focusing on the next stage; technical, vocational and professional skills for adults, including apprenticeships and higher level education."

ALP bites back at Wolf's attack on training providers

The Association of Learning Providers (ALP) has hit out at the Wolf review's criticism of "brokers" and "middlemen". The report described the use of "training providers" as "inherently expensive and wasteful", adding: "It cannot make sense to run a system which involves large numbers of adults travelling constantly from place to place to interact with and complete paperwork for individual apprentices and their employers". An ALP spokesman said Professor Wolf "seems to disregard the complex and comprehensive package of functions that training providers deliver". They oversee a "highly complex" range of essential activities, he said.

Internet safety qualification helps staff protect students

Business, computing and technology lecturers at Blackburn College are taking an internet safety qualification to help them protect their students online. The course will highlight the personal safety issues that may arise while using the internet, including risks associated with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and help the college tackle cyber-bullying. Principal Ian Clinton said: "The internet is an exciting and powerful tool and it is vital that our staff understand the risks it carries. The qualification will provide the knowledge and tools to help us safeguard young people online to the best of our ability."

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