News at a glance

MPs call for creation of royal society of apprentices

A royal society of apprentices should be formed to boost the "professionalism and esteem of apprentices", the all-party parliamentary group for FE, skills and lifelong learning has said. The group has also recommended that "apprenticeship champions" should be identified across the business sector to participate in a national awareness campaign in schools. The report, published on Wednesday, followed an inquiry into how the Government's ambitious targets for a further 250,000 placements can be achieved. Committee members felt that the rapid increase in apprenticeships could render the term too generic, arguing that creating a royal society would prevent it from being devalued. "All of the witnesses we heard from felt more should be done to promote better awareness among young people and their parents, with a focus on improving the information about apprenticeships that 14-year-olds get at school," Liberal Democrat MP and committee co-chair Stephen Lloyd said.

Three awards in one week for triumphant Solihull

Staff at Solihull College are celebrating after scooping three national awards - all in the space of a week. Most notable was the Best Business Award for best communications (public sector), received for its New Chapter campaign showcasing the #163;31 million revamp of the college's Blossomfield Campus. Solihull received two further awards from the College Marketing Network: it was highly commended for marketing to business and employers, and marketing co-ordinator Michelle Hewitt was named FE marketing professional of 2011. "To be recognised nationally by different organisations for these initiatives shows how creative the college is in achieving its business objectives," marketing director Dave Cooper said.

North beats South for 'apprenticeship hot-spots'

More than two-thirds of apprentices are employed by firms in the north of England, a new report by the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) has found. While the highest level of apprenticeship take-up was in Wokingham, Berkshire (15.11 per cent), three-quarters of the country's "apprenticeship hot-spots" were in the North. London has the worst record for apprenticeship take-up, with affluent Kensington and Chelsea finishing bottom of the table at 0.78 per cent. "While many won't be surprised that apprenticeship take-up is more prevalent in the North, it is the difference between the two that causes alarm," AAT chief executive Jane Scott Paul said.

Website brings jobseekers and employers together

Recruitment and FE specialists have joined forces to create a new interactive CV portal aimed at matchmaking young jobseekers with employers. The site,, enables employers to link up with suitably qualified students who are at college or who have recently completed a course. Rather than just posting their CV, students can "build a three-dimensional profile that provides the potential employer with more information upon which to make a decision and gives students the opportunity to differentiate themselves". The system has been piloted at Barnet and Southgate College.

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