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Only 4% on Work Programme secure lasting jobs

Adult education body Niace has called for greater education and training as part of the Work Programme after new figures showed that less than 4 per cent of its clients gained sustainable jobs. The Treasury predicted that without the programme 5 per cent of this cohort should have secured lasting jobs. Niace chief executive David Hughes said that people are failing to stay in work because their skills needs have not been properly addressed. "It is more productive to have people doing something purposeful," he said. "If people can't find jobs it is much fairer for them to be training and learning new skills, as this will not only help them get into and stay in work but will also have a positive impact on their mental health and well-being." Work Programme providers said that 207,000 jobs were found for clients, but 31,000 of these lasted for only three to six months.

Fees for over-24s 'will slow green growth'

Shadow FE minister Gordon Marsden has warned that the introduction of fees for over-24s could further reduce Britain's progress in developing green skills as potential students are put off engineering courses. Without protection similar to that received by higher education science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) courses, he told the audience at the Green Skills for Green Jobs conference last week, students could be put off by the higher fees. "Successfully managing our transition to a low-carbon economy is one of the key challenges facing the government today," Mr Marsden said. "This government's policies risk jeopardising the potential this offers to boost skill levels across England and transform people's lives, opening up exciting new careers to them." Labour said that on Pew Environment Group rankings the UK had fallen from third to seventh in the world for investment in clean technologies.

College strikes gold with Olympic sports star visit

Jessica Ennis, Olympic gold medallist and contender for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, opened a new building at Chesterfield College and visited its sports hall, which has been named after her. The heptathlete unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the building, which contains a learning centre, library, reception and guidance centre. "I'm definitely impressed with the new college building," said Ennis (pictured). "It looks really bright and modern. To have the sports hall named after me too is very special." Principal Trevor Clay, who is planning two further developments for the college, said: "Everyone is delighted that Jessica was able to launch the facility officially for us. Over the years Jessica has worked hard to achieve her goals and is a fantastic role model for young people everywhere."

Right to impartial careers advice extended

Students will have the right to impartial careers advice earlier and for longer, the government has announced. The duty for schools and colleges to offer advice will now begin in Year 8 for 13-year-olds and run until students leave education or training at 18. Previously only 14 to 16-year-olds received advice. Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said increased options for 14- to 18-year-olds, such as university technical colleges, colleges and studio schools, made the move necessary. "It is absolutely essential that young people have access to high-quality, impartial careers guidance as they approach key transition points in their education," he said. But he added that there is still a need for the face-to-face guidance provided by the National Careers Service.

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