Lifelong learning supporter is new shadow skills minister
Gordon Marsden, Labour chair of the all-party parliamentary skills group, has been appointed shadow minister for skills and FE. Mr Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, was first elected in 1997 and was a member of the innovation, universities and skills select committee which was sharply critical of the Learning and Skills Council's failings over college capital funding. Formerly the editor of History Today magazine and an Open University lecturer, Mr Marsden was also a supporter of the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning, tabling an early-day motion backing the restoration of funding for adult education.
British president carries the torch for Skills Olympics
WorldSkills International, which organises the international Skills Olympics, is to gain a British president ahead of next year's competition, which London is hosting. Simon Bartley, chief executive of UK Skills and of the London competition, was made president-elect after serving three years as a director. He said: "The work undertaken by WorldSkills International is vital in allowing countries and regions from around the world to develop more effective ways of training. Indeed, it is knowledge of training at the highest quality that is needed to grow individuals, careers and develop and sustain businesses."
Royal unveils pan-disability centre
The Duke of Kent will visit the Royal National College for the Blind in Herefordshire next Tuesday to open its new assessment centre. He will unveil the Gardner Hall Assessment Centre, which the college says will help provide the capacity it needs to assess the needs of those with disabilities other than sight loss and to design personalised programmes for them. Geoff Draper, the college principal, said: "We're absolutely delighted that the Duke of Kent is able to come to Hereford for this visit. It is a real honour for us as a college, and it will be a marvellous opportunity for the students to paint a picture of life here on campus and the very real difference our kind of specialist education can make to their future."
Central Sussex College to serve up Hilton chefs
Central Sussex College has been chosen to recruit and train chefs for the Hilton hotel group's apprentice chef academy. About 20 apprentices a year aged 16 to 18 will train for 12 months on a programme designed by senior chefs at the company's hotels, with a job as a commis chef at the end of the course. Ben Bengougam, vice-president of human resources for Europe at Hilton Worldwide, said: "The Chef Apprentice Academy is aimed at nurturing and developing a new generation of chefs, with each participant having the prospect of a full-time commis chef role on completion of the programme."
London councils recruit 1,000 apprentices
Local authorities in London have recruited more than 1,000 apprentices as part of efforts to increase the number of workplace training places in the public sector. The boroughs are now over halfway towards a 2012 target to recruit 2,000 apprentices, according to their representative body, London Councils. Students are learning on jobs ranging from customer service to construction, business administration and horticulture. Steve Reed, the councils' executive member for children and young people, said: "Lord Sugar is not the only one looking for an apprentice; boroughs are searching, too. Apprenticeships in London's local authorities are a fantastic way for people to gain the skills and experience sought by employers while giving something back to their communities."