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Further afield

Vocational route is chance not choice, says study

Most students on vocational courses fall into their subject by chance and do not have a career plan, according to a report on teenagers' perceptions of practical study. Based on interviews and focus groups with teenagers on vocational courses and led by Liz Atkins from Nottingham Trent University, the research found that many of them cited their failure at school as a reason for choosing a vocational subject. Dr Atkins said: "Current 14-19 education policy assumes a lot, such as young people in vocational education having a straight trajectory and a set career in mind. We found that this is not the case."

Retiring LSIS chief `hard act to follow' for replacement

The next chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) has been named as Rob Wye (right), currently director of strategy and implementation at the Young People's Learning Agency. The post was advertised at a salary of pound;142,000 a year after David Collins, the current chief executive, decided to retire in the new year. Mr Wye said: "I know I have a hard act to follow. I am well aware how much the sector has to offer to improve the lives of individuals, the success of communities and the bottom line for employers. LSIS will be at the heart of those improvements."

College ships diploma supplies to the Gambia

New College Nottingham has shipped a 40ft container of equipment to the Gambia as part of a collaboration in the training of hospitality and tourism skills. Lecturers from the college visited the western African country in April to give teaching advice, but realised that the technical training institute was also in need of supplies. They put together a shipment of teaching materials, books, journals, furniture and computers, which is due to arrive in Banjul, the Gambian capital, today. The equipment will be used for classrooms teaching the diploma in hospitality and tourism that the college has helped to set up.

Apprentices will be eligible for Olympics

Ministers are planning to amend legislation to help elite athletes take up sports apprenticeships before the 2012 Olympics. John Hayes, the FE and skills minister, said relaxing the rule on needing to be in employment for athletes would give a boost to amateur sports men and women by allowing them to take up an advanced apprenticeship in sporting excellence. "The Olympics should not only be viewed as a sporting event, but also as a catalyst for more widespread social and economic change," he said. "The most important legacy of the Olympics will be found not just in a short- term boost in income and publicity - nor even in medals - but in a longer- term legacy of facilities, sustainable jobs and skills."

Sunderland on call to share Contact training standard

City of Sunderland College is establishing itself as a leader in training call-centre staff after its Contact Centre Academy became the first in its industry to gain Training Quality Standard. The centre, which has 300 students a year, boasted success rates of over 90 per cent to earn the Government-designed award, intended to make it easier for employers to find high-quality training. Shirley Gelder, director of employer engagement at the college, said: "This is great news for the college and for employers, as the standard greatly assists local businesses so they are able to easily recognise which providers are fully responsive to their needs."

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