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`Like poor Manuel, I know nothing,' new FE minister says

England's new skills minister admitted he knew "nothing" about FE and skills in his first day on the job. In a Westminster Hall debate, Nick Boles MP - who took over the role last week from Matthew Hancock - said he was "tremendously privileged, lucky and happy" with his new position. However, referring to the hapless Spanish waiter from classic British sitcom Fawlty Towers, he said: "Like poor Manuel, I know nothing at the moment, but I'm keen to learn." On Twitter, the minister said his mission was "simple: to make sure every young person gets the skills they need to share in the benefits of economic recovery".

Members of defunct IfL to have `key role' in ETF

The Education and Training Foundation has promised that members of the Institute for Learning will have a "key role" to play in the organisation's future. The advisory council of the IfL, England's professional body for FE lecturers, last week voted that the body should close and pass its legacy and assets to the ETF by the autumn. ETF chief executive David Russell said: "Through their association with the foundation in future, IfL members can play a key role in our organisation, in line with our mission to enhance the performance and professionalism of the education and training system."

MP urges return of savings account for learning

Former shadow skills minister Gordon Marsden has called for the return of a funding system for adult skills that was scrapped more than a decade ago. The Individual Learning Account, set up by the Labour government in 2000 but scrapped a year later amid concerns over fraud, allowed the government, employers and employees to pay small monthly amounts towards training. In an article published in a book of ideas from former shadow ministers for a future Labour government, Mr Marsden says it is an "idea whose time has come again". He writes: "If aspects of delivery were flawed, the ideas behind it were not."

pound;37 million boost for creative young people

The UK's creative industries have come together in a pound;37 million effort to boost talent and skills. The investment, made up of pound;17 million from creative businesses and pound;20 million of public funds, will fund the largest ever collaboration in the sector. More than 500 employers will offer young people initiatives in television and radio, animation, games, special effects, publishing, digital media, marketing and fashion, with charity Creative Access and skills body Creative Skillset taking responsibility for delivering the programme.

Skills system in London is `broken', thinktank says

London's skills system is "broken" and needs a radical overhaul if future generations are to meet the needs of the city's businesses, a group of MPs has been told. London Councils, a thinktank that represents all 32 London boroughs and the City of London, has called for changes to the way the capital's FE colleges and training providers are funded. Giving evidence to an All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry on small business productivity, Peter John, London Councils' executive member for employment and skills, said there was a "disconnect" between the skills London was producing and the requirements of organisations, particularly small businesses.

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