News at a glance

4th January 2013 at 00:00

New year, new look

TES has this week overhauled its coverage of the FE sector to reflect its growing importance in the education world. The FE Focus section of the magazine has now moved to the main news section and we have also launched an FE Focus portal online, complete with a news blog updated throughout the week by our team of dedicated FE journalists. This online service will also provide a new home for all FE jobs and classroom resources. Please visit

Honours for further education pioneers

Christine Braddock, principal of Birmingham Metropolitan College, led the list of FE honours after being appointed a dame. She was among 25 people working in colleges and in adult education to be named in the New Year Honours list. Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group, praised her leadership, saying the honour recognised the college's successful merger, top results and achievements of one of Britain's largest apprentice recruitment drives. Angela O'Donoghue, former principal of Sunderland College and now principal of South Essex College, was appointed CBE, along with John Reilly, principal of Mid Cheshire College, and Les Walton, the former chair of the Young People's Learning Agency. Five college principals were appointed OBEs: Theresa Drowley at Redbridge College, Jonathan Godfrey at Hereford Sixth Form College, Felicity Greeves at Blackpool Sixth Form College, Sunaina Mann at North East Surrey College of Technology and Moira Tattersall at Carlisle College. They were joined by Ahmed Choonara, board member for the Network for Black Professionals, Caroline Neville, former executive director of the Skills Funding Agency, and Carol Taylor, director of development and research at the adult education body Niace.

Prospective apprentices top 1 million

The National Apprenticeship Service's online matching service has processed more than a million applications in the past year. Figures released by the NAS showed that there were an average of more than 10 applications for each of the 106,510 vacancies advertised. Business administration was the most commonly advertised vacancy and received the most applications, with customer service and childcare also attracting large numbers of apprenticeships and applicants. Vacancies peaked in May, although the largest number of applications came during July. The day with the single highest volume of applications was 15 August, A-level results day. With 200,000 applications, London had more interest in apprenticeships than any other region. Applications were dominated by young men, who represented 56 per cent of the total.

Apprenticeships move to master's level

FE minister Matthew Hancock announced that apprenticeships will be able to be offered at master's degree level for the first time this year. Changes to the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England will allow level six and level seven apprenticeships, equivalent to bachelor's and master's degree level. According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, BPP University College, the for-profit HE provider recently given degree-awarding powers, is planning to develop an apprenticeship route into the legal profession and qualification as a solicitor. "In the past, apprenticeships were restricted to only some trades, and some parts of the economy," Mr Hancock said. "Now we are introducing apprenticeships in all types of jobs, including a new route to the professions, to ensure everyone can reach their potential. These new apprenticeships will help more young people to receive on-the-job training at top companies like BPP Law School, ensuring a vocational route to success in accounting, insurance and the law."

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