Views from the coalface

Peter Davies Business in the Community

"We set the agenda with the big national and regional companies to get them to work together. Our main programme is Partners in Leadership, linking heads to business. The major concern is the lack of effective brokerage at local level. We are far from providing that and I'm not convinced that the new set-up tackles this issue. We need to send a coherent marketing message to business at all levels."

Anne Evans Chief Executive, Heads and Teachers into Industry (HTI)

"We offer professional development to senior teachers and work with every TEC and EBP in the country, so we expect to work with all local LSCs. We have to make teacher placements more worthwhile. Traditionally, they have not given a great deal to teachers or businesses. There has been excellent local practice, but a lack of quality assurance, coherence and national strategic targets."

Richard Shearman Director, Education and Training, at the Engineering Council

"We're hoping for a seamless changeover. The way LSCs link with development agencies when looking at regional needs will be key. TECs have ducked out of that. Employers are interested in education business links, but TECs have not been an ideal vehicle to deliver them.

We'd prefer a lead body to work with a range of partners and success will depend on whether it can avoid being over-bureaucratic and over-prescriptive."

Paul Poulter Trident

"Trident co-ordinates work experience all over the country. There are vast regional and local differences in the transition process. We have lobbied hard in the transition. We have to get more of a value-led ethos into managing funding. This as gone wrong with the TECs, with their focus on target hitting. We deal with more than 120,000 children a year. Up to 85 per cent of them go on placements in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The programmes that the Government wishes to see implemented will not be sustainable unless SMEs are engaged. "

Ray Auvray Prospects Careers Services

"With just 47 LSCs, there will be moves to take a sub-regional view. We've got a sub-regional capability and the infrastructure is going to be important. Arguably, the careers service is the only organisation with that sub-regional infrastructure."

David Millar Chief Executive, Understanding Industry

"Companies don't see the subtle nuances between one provider and another - say between Understanding Industry (UI) and Young Enterprise (YE). To them, it's just someone else knocking on the door. We support partnership working. We work with firms and EBPs, but are sometimes seen as competition. Funding creates that tension. If funds are limited, people lack the confidence to see the bigger picture."

Peter Westgarth Chief Executive, Young Enterprise

"The transition year has been difficult. We need to maintain the funding at local level until we get a clearer view of the local LSCs. The change to LSCs will give us a chance to ask where the EBPs fit in. I can't think of a lesson that wouldn't benefit from business involvement, but the risk is that we are asking business to do too much. One encouraging thing is the opportunity to look at the strengths and weaknesses of organisations in each area. I've seen a range of models presented and the environment being created seems to be the right one."

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