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Further afield

Leeds City College takes over HE conservatoire

Leeds City College is taking over Leeds College of Music in what it says is an "unprecedented" example of an HE institution becoming a subsidiary of one in FE. The college said the deal with the third-largest FE institution will offer Leeds College of Music benefits of economies of scale and secure its financial future. Leeds City College principal Peter Roberts said: "The diverse curriculum currently on offer at both colleges proves a natural fit; the alliance will see a broadening of provision and a significant extension of the higher education offer previously available at Leeds City College." The music college's degrees are already accredited by Bradford University, so they will not be affected by the FE takeover.

Apprentice salaries average pound;12,634

The average salary for apprentices is pound;12,634 a year, according to a survey commission by unionlearn, the TUC's education arm. The survey by Incomes Data Services - claimed to be the most comprehensive overview of apprentice pay, retention and training yet, with 289 employers contributing - found that private sector employers paid, on average, 17 per cent more. It also found that the subjects which attracted the highest pay had the highest rates of retention after training. Higher-paid apprenticeships tended to have fewer women students. In extractive and mineral processing occupations, the highest-paid apprenticeship with an average salary of pound;17,609, there were no women at all.

Pearson degree to be validated by Royal Holloway

Pearson's proposed new vocational degree, which it intends to offer to students at FE colleges, will be validated by Royal Holloway, part of London University. Although the Government's HE white paper proposed that non-teaching institutions could award degrees, the company has gone into partnership in order to offer the courses from September 2012. A spokeswoman said that "ultimately" the company would look at becoming a degree-awarding body. The first degrees will be in business. Professor Rob Kemp, deputy principal of Royal Holloway, said: "Our founders, in opening colleges for women in the 19th century, were the first to address the challenge of widening access and we are delighted to continue this tradition today by supporting Pearson in this initiative."

Employment and job-search programme from Reed

Reed in Partnership, the employment services' welfare-to-work arm, and awarding body NCFE have launched a programme designed to help colleges get students into work and track their progress. Students will be offered level 1, 2 and 3 awards in job-search and interview skills, each a 30-hour course, along with work experience and careers advice. The programme is, in part, designed to help colleges to secure funding which will be reserved for student progression into employment. Reed director of skills and business support Tom Millar said: "It is essential learners have the right skills and mindset to appeal to potential employers, as well as realistic expectations for their first job."

Hackney College lobbies minister on English classes

Students and teachers at Hackney Community College met FE minister John Hayes as they sought to protect English language classes for migrants and education for the poor. The college said 80 per cent of its English- language students and 50 per cent of all other students were on "inactive" benefits and faced losing the right to free courses. Students presented Mr Hayes with a booklet explaining how the changes will affect them. Gulderen Asiliskender, 49, wrote: "I have five children. They were all born in London. To live independently I need to speak fluent English. When I finish the Esol (English for speakers of other languages) course I would like to continue to the classroom assistant's course, and then I will be able to work."

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