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Training to be key test for Assembly;FE Focus

A MAJOR test of the effectiveness of the new Welsh Assembly will be in its implementation of proposals for education and training, according to the man in charge of the proposed post-16 revolution.

The reforms offered in the proposals of the education and training action group report were one of Labour's key pledges in the run-up to the Assembly election.

This week Tom Middlehurst, responsible for post-16 education and training in Alun Michael's Welsh Cabinet, told The TES: "We want to get the principal recommendations on the stocks as quickly as possible. I know there are still concerns about issues of detail, but there is a consensus on the broad principles and we need to build on that. We must not allow things to drift."

Labour has promised an extra pound;100 million for FE and pound;3 billion for training from the Welsh allocation in the Chancellor's spending review. Welsh education minister Peter Hain promised: "This will put Wales in the lead. The rest of Britain will want to follow."

Mr Middlehurst said this week: "The main aim must be to prepare people for work and to respond to needs highlighted by employers."

At 62, Mr Middlehurst is the oldest Assembly member. But he is new to direct involvement in further education: "It hasn't been part of local government. One of my main concerns as I start the job will be to meet the colleges, the funding council and other main players."

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