FE news at a glance

3rd April 2015 at 01:00

Higher education in colleges to get pound;61m boost

Colleges that run higher education courses will receive a pound;61 million windfall in the next academic year, it has been announced. The cash from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) will be used to meet teaching costs at 214 FE and sixth-form colleges. The funding will go towards high-cost subjects such as science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem), as well as improving opportunities for students. While most grants will be worth tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds, several colleges will receive seven-figure sums. The largest single allocation is the pound;2.6 million awarded to Blackpool and the Fylde College.

Seek employer support on careers, providers told

FE colleges should give students access to a network of employers from a range of sectors and professions, according to new official guidance. The government document on delivering careers advice says students need to be "inspired and motivated" to think about a broad range of job opportunities (bit.lyCollegeCareers). Students should have more contact with employers to help broaden their horizons and challenge stereotypes or preconceived ideas, it adds. The guidance also identifies a "mismatch" between the careers young people want and the available opportunities, saying that employers can help students to understand different paths as well as opening up new possibilities.

Engineering isn't for girls - according to parents

Only 7 per cent of parents would encourage their daughters to pursue a career in engineering, according to new research. A survey of more than 1,000 parents by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) finds that parents have outdated notions of which jobs are appropriate for which gender. Among parents of girls, 32 per cent said their daughter would be most interested in a career in education and childcare; among parents of boys, 47 per cent said IT would most appeal to their son. The IET has launched a new campaign, Engineer a Better World, to engage with parents and children about the career opportunities engineering can offer.

FE policy has been ruled by `prejudice', Boles says

FE policies over the past two decades have been based more on "instincts or prejudice" than evidence, skills minister Nick Boles has claimed. Speaking at the launch of the Centre for Vocational Education Research (CVER) last week, Mr Boles said the lack of evidence informing skills policy was "striking". He added that he hoped the CVER, based at the London School of Economics, would go some way towards remedying this. The CVER is set to receive pound;1 million a year from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for the next three years. A spokesman said the centre aimed to "generate a step change in our understanding of the nature, significance and potential contribution of vocational education to individuals and the wider economy".

Commissioner role sends `clear message' to sector

The creation of the role of FE commissioner has sent a "clear message" to the sector that poor performance will not be tolerated, a new report argues. An evaluation document published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills says that the "vast majority" of people surveyed are positive about the impact of the change, and commissioner David Collins and the intervention process are "firmly embedded" in the FE landscape (bit.lyFEevaluation). The outcomes of 19 interventions have been published so far, and the report says the majority of providers have made good progress towards implementing recommendations.


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