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Government rejects student immigration plea

Ministers have rejected calls by MPs to remove international students from migration figures so that colleges and universities can expand their recruitment. The Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee called for the change in September to help the UK compete with countries such as the US and Australia, which count students separately from other migrants on the basis that they rarely stay in the country beyond the length of their course. Committee chairman Adrian Bailey criticised the government for taking four months to produce an evasive response. "This is not acceptable. Given the delay, we expected a substantial piece of work. However, the response appears to offer nothing new and manifestly fails to give a clear answer to our key recommendation," he said. The National Union of Students said that the education sector, business and politicians of all parties oppose restricting international student recruitment, a policy that is harming Britain's global standing.

Pearson apprenticeships saved by a Vision

Vision West Nottinghamshire College has completed a deal that will result in thousands of learners from Pearson in Practice transferring to the college. Pearson recently announced that it was shutting its apprenticeship training business, arguing that the requirement for apprentices to be employed made it unviable. Now about 4,000 of the learners will transfer to a college subsidiary called Vision Workforce Skills. "This cements the college's position as one of the country's leading providers of workforce development programmes and significantly enhances our national reach in terms of employer engagement," college principal Asha Khemka said. "Above all, this is good news for Pearson in Practice learners, who will be supported to successfully complete their apprenticeship or training programme."

Employer award to recognise vocational champions

The Edge Foundation, a charity that promotes vocational education, has launched a new award for employers who embrace education in the workplace. To be announced on VQ Day, the charity's celebration of achievements in vocational qualifications held on 5 June, the VQ employer of the year will be named alongside the learner of the year. The deadline for nominations is 3 May and the winner will be decided by a panel of industry experts. "This year we have revitalised the awards not only to celebrate the successes of VQ learners but also to recognise UK businesses that have successfully embraced and championed technical, practical and work-related skills within their workforce," said Jan Hodges, the Edge Foundation's chief executive. "We are encouraging all employers and educational organisations to help their workforce or students get the edge by learning through doing and take part in a day that celebrates individual achievements, and the wider benefits they bring to society and business."

The principal who keeps calm and carries on

Sunderland College's new principal should be ready for anything - her first job was as a housekeeper in the "most bombed hotel in the world". Anne Isherwood, who started at the college last month, left her school sixth form to work in hospitality at the Europa Hotel in Belfast, which has survived 28 attacks since it opened 42 years ago. "We'd just carry out a zone sweep when the bleep went off and then go back to work. It was part and parcel of life and something you took for granted. We just got on with it and built up a resilience," she said. At the age of 28, she became a lecturer in hospitality, eventually rising to principal of Bishop Auckland College. She applies lessons from the hospitality industry to running a college. "Customer service is key and customer focus is critical," she said. "It is very important to see the student as a customer or consumer and I have pushed hard for that to be the case. That's how we give them the best possible experience."

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