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'Dead weight' claim over apprenticeship funding

About 44 per cent of apprenticeships for over-25s are "dead weight" for the taxpayer and would have been funded by the companies themselves, according to new research commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Consultants at London Economics compared companies that trained apprentices with those that did not to assess the likelihood that training would have been carried out without public subsidy. While they cautioned that the data was limited, they concluded that about 28 per cent of funding went on training that employers would have paid for. For 16- to 19-year-olds the figure fell to 16 per cent, but for over-25s it was 44 per cent. The conclusions call into question the value of the growth of apprenticeships, the majority of which has been for older learners. The researchers said that the results may reflect businesses being unwilling to invest in inexperienced staff who are less productive, and that the results supported the rationale of funding younger apprentices at a higher rate.

'Immensely dedicated' Bristol principal to retire

The principal of City of Bristol College, Keith Elliott, will retire in July after 10 years in the job. He will be replaced by Lynn Merilion, who currently leads Stockport College, in September. The college praised Mr Elliott for winning Beacon college status and securing nearly #163;100 million of investment in new facilities during his decade as principal. Mr Elliott was awarded a CBE in the 2009 New Year Honours. Neil Middleton, the college's chair of governors, said: "Keith is an immensely dedicated individual who has taken the college to great heights. His direction and leadership has made a substantial impact on the contribution the college has made to the provision of learning for everyone in the region."

International student 'numbers game' criticised

A thinktank has accused the government of "gaming" immigration figures and damaging college and university recruitment of overseas students by counting student migrants as permanent settlers. The centre-left IPPR said the government should follow the lead of its Anglophone competitors for international students, such as Australia, Canada and the US, and only count the 15 per cent of students who stay permanently as part of the net migration. The government said it is merely following standards set by the International Labour Organization, but the researchers claimed that the government was banking on the time lag in student recruitment to deliver a large reduction in migration in 2013 and 2014. Sarah Mulley, IPPR associate director for migration, trade and development, said: "The government needs to take international students out of the immigration 'numbers game', which is damaging our universities and colleges, our economy and our international standing."

Gove digs Bicton's EaRTH centre

Education secretary Michael Gove opened a centre for environmental technology at Bicton College, praising it as a "visionary" institution. The Environmental and Renewable Technologies Hub (EaRTH) is intended to provide training courses in a range of renewable energy and sustainability technologies, from solar power to sustainable construction, for businesses and for young people. "The great thing about this building is that it has been designed in a way that orientates it to the future, respectful of its immediate environment and the environment overall and it's also been designed in a way to be part of a great tradition - the tradition of Bicton College," said Mr Gove.

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