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Merger to `transform' provision in Nottingham

Two Nottingham colleges have voted to merge after a review of provision in the city by the FE commissioner. A statement from New College Nottingham and Central College Nottingham said that a single college with a unified curriculum would be the best outcome for all involved. Carole Thorogood, chair of Central College, said the merger, which will take place by August 2016, would "transform" education and skills across the region. David Nelson, chair of New College, said the move would "reshape" FE provision to give the city the skills infrastructure it needed. FE commissioner David Collins launched his review in May after Ofsted inspections rated both colleges as requiring improvement. Last week, skills minister Nick Boles announced a national review of the structure of FE, which he said could lead to "fewer, larger" colleges. Dr Collins said it was "encouraging" to see the two colleges undertaking the "pioneering" work. Five FE and sixth-form colleges in Norfolk and Suffolk last week announced plans to collaborate after a similar review by the FE commissioner.

Crackdown launched on `unscrupulous' providers

The government has launched a crackdown on mislabelled apprenticeship provision. A consultation launched this week calls for information about poor-quality training courses being marketed as apprenticeships. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills released details of several cases, including one provider that claimed to offer a fully funded, year-long IT apprenticeship which actually included just six days of training. Skills minister Nick Boles said: "We don't want the status [of apprenticeships] to be undermined by those unscrupulously passing off short courses as apprenticeships. We are inviting employers and apprentices to join us in stamping out abuse of the system."

Research reveals pound;5K gender pay gap in FE

Women teaching in FE earn significantly less than their male colleagues on average, according to two new pieces of research. An analysis by executive recruitment firm Michael Page shows that the median salary of women teaching in the sector was pound;27,121 in 2014 - pound;5,257 less than men, who earned pound;32,378 (bit.lyMichaelPageStudy). Among top earners with salaries in the 80th percentile, the gap narrows slightly, but women still earn pound;4,625 less than men. Meanwhile, a report by the Education and Training Foundation shows that 89 per cent of men teaching full-time in FE received a starting salary of more than pound;20,000 in 2012-13, compared with just 75 per cent of women (bit.lyETFstudy).

Student confidence runs high at UTCs

Almost nine out of 10 (87 per cent) students at university technical colleges feel confident in their ability to succeed at work, a survey has found. The poll of 850 students aged 14 to 18 from UTCs across England, carried out in June, also reveals that 86 per cent are confident of getting a job that suits their skills when they leave education. Nearly three-quarters (70 per cent) feel their prospects are better than if they had stayed in a mainstream school. Two-thirds (68 per cent) already know the career they want to pursue, while 40 per cent plan to go to university and about a quarter (26 per cent) plan to do an apprenticeship. The results come as a much-needed boost to the UTC programme, after two - Hackney UTC and Black Country UTC - were closed in the past year.

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