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6 March 2014 by Dr Fiona Aldridge

Better IAG on Apprenticeships is vital for young people choosing future careers

Last night I was privileged to attend a reception hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister, to promote the benefits and value of careers to girls and women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEM).

13 February 2014 by Guest Blogger

Adult education a platform for local growth

Column originally published in the Local Government Chronicle on 30 January 2014. I was recently asked to speak at the North of England Education conference in Nottingham on putting localism, skills and further education...Read more »

Look out! CLIF
12 February 2014 by Guest Blogger

Look out! CLIF

Column originally published in The Municipal Journal on 29 January 2014. One of the major challenges facing the education and training of adults is how to reach people who think learning is just ‘not for them’....Read more »

24 January 2014 by Guest Blogger

What does ‘good growth’ look like?

As welcome as yesterday’s latest unemployment figures are, higher employment is not enough on its own to ensure a sustained and lasting recovery. What’s needed are good jobs with opportunities for people to progress in throughout...Read more »

Better access to ESOL is crucial for progress in education, work and life
7 January 2014 by Alex Stevenson

Better access to ESOL is crucial for progress in education, work and life

You may have come across a recent article in the Guardian on the parliamentary inquiry that will look into concerns and grievances that remain after Gurkhas were granted the right to settle in the UK in 2009.

What matters is what works
31 December 2013 by Guest Blogger

What matters is what works

Column originally published in The Municipal Journal 31 December 2013. Alongside ‘demand management’ for statutory services over the next five years, economic growth tops the wish-lists of most local government leaders and chief executives as the...Read more »

13 December 2013 by Guest Blogger

Devolve skills funding to drive growth

Column originally published in the Local Government Chronicle on 29 November 2013. In October 2013 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development published a major international survey as part of its Programme for the...Read more »

3 December 2013 by Carol Taylor

Poor skills are our responsibility. All of us.

PIACC, the OECD survey of adult skills which came out a few weeks ago, showed, in no uncertain terms, where England and N Ireland were located in the ‘league table’ of adult literacy, numeracy and IT skills, in relation to 23 other countries.

How can ESOL Learners Progress to Functional Skills?
20 November 2013 by Alex Stevenson

How can ESOL Learners Progress to Functional Skills?

With Government policy clearly stating that ESOL provision is expected to support learners’ progression to Functional Skills, it’s perhaps worth taking a few moments to reflect on what this entails.

Grassroots solutions key to recovery
31 October 2013 by Guest Blogger

Grassroots solutions key to recovery

Column originally published in the Local Government Chronicle on 17 October 2013. The party conferences were a mixed bag of announcements already trailed and the slow grinding of the pre-election gears. And...Read more »

14 October 2013 by Alex Stevenson

The Adult Skills Survey (PIAAC) – What Does It Mean for ESOL?

As the OECD’s Adult Skills Survey itself says, it’s hardly surprising that foreign language immigrants have lower proficiency in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.

A First Glance at The OECD Survey of Adult Skills 2013
7 October 2013 by Carol Taylor

A First Glance at The OECD Survey of Adult Skills 2013

Like many of you I’m sure, I haven’t had the chance to give anything like the considered detail the 466 pages of the full report of the OECD Survey of Adult Skills deserves.

When is a course leisure or vocational?
3 October 2013 by Dr Fiona Aldridge

When is a course leisure or vocational?

This morning FE Week published a story about their concerns over loans being accessed for ‘leisure’ courses and in particular for Horticulture courses at Bicton College in Devon. Their argument is that loans should ‘be prioritised for adults wanting to go to university, into work or to do an apprenticeship’.

PIAAC data could inform social, economic and educational policy
1 October 2013 by Carol Taylor

PIAAC data could inform social, economic and educational policy

PIAAC – you may have heard the word and wondered what it was. It stands for the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competences. It’s an international survey attempting to assess and compare the basic...Read more »

Revisiting tired debates has no future
17 September 2013 by Guest Blogger

Revisiting tired debates has no future

Column originally published in the Local Government Chronicle on 4 September 2013. One of the eye catching announcements at this year’s LGA conference was the package of ideas for “re-wiring public services”. Amongst its...Read more »

#learningforchange: mid-conference season reflections
16 September 2013 by Guest Blogger

#learningforchange: mid-conference season reflections

Cautiously optimistic might be the best way to start, after a few good days at the Lib Dems annual conference in Glasgow. Armed with a strong package of pre-conference season asks we have achieved good policy...Read more »

A work placement at NIACE was the stepping stone to my success
14 August 2013 by Emily Hicks

A work placement at NIACE was the stepping stone to my success

Young adult carer, Emily Hicks, aged 23, first came into contact with NIACE in 2011 when she was nominated by a college teacher for the Adult Learners’ Week awards. Despite not winning an award, NIACE was...Read more »

Finding the right recipe to work with LEPS
7 August 2013 by Guest Blogger

Finding the right recipe to work with LEPS

Column originally published in FE Week on 25 July 2013. LEPs are different beasts from their predecessors, the Regional Development Agencies. But they will be powerful players in local skills systems over the years ahead. At...Read more »

31 July 2013 by Nicola Aylward

New measures to counter youth unemployment

Whilst youth unemployment has fallen by 59,000 since the launch of the Youth Contract in April 2012, figures published last week by DWP show that the scheme has fallen substantially short of original targets.  

Have LEPs got the backing they need?
16 July 2013 by Guest Blogger

Have LEPs got the backing they need?

Column originally published in the Local Government Chronicle on 3 July 2013. Watching an ITV documentary on Scottish devolution, I was reminded of the contribution the late John Smith made to the devolution settlement...Read more »

How an internship at NIACE has restored my hope for the future
4 July 2013 by Ryan Mercer

How an internship at NIACE has restored my hope for the future

Written by Ryan Mercer, NIACE’s Policy Development Intern who graduated from the University of Leicester in 2012, with a BA (Hons) Ancient History and History. On 11 July 2012, I graduated from the University of Leicester...Read more »

Caring has become a part of who I am
13 June 2013 by Louise B

Caring has become a part of who I am

Today’s is the last guest blog in our series for National Carers Week. Louise, shares the challenges she has faced, as well as the rewards she has reaped, as a young adult carer. Along with my...Read more »

Employers and teachers should recognise the needs of carers
11 June 2013 by Matt

Employers and teachers should recognise the needs of carers

Continuing a series of guest blogs for National Carers Week, young adult carer, Matt, tells us what he thinks employers and schools can do to better support people with caring responsibilities.

Proper awareness of what carers do could improve our lives
10 June 2013 by Louise A

Proper awareness of what carers do could improve our lives

In the first of a series of guest blogs for National Carers Week, Louise shares the challenges she has faced growing up as a carer and what she thinks could make a real difference to others in the same situation.

Partnerships key to ‘place resilience’
30 May 2013 by Guest Blogger

Partnerships key to ‘place resilience’

Column originally published in the Local Government Chronicle on 17 May 2013. Much has been said about the importance of voluntary sector partnerships in local government. In recent rounds of peer reviews, the council’s...Read more »

Becoming multilingual – a week at @NIACEhq
2 May 2013 by Guest Blogger

Becoming multilingual – a week at @NIACEhq

NIACE is a great organisation with great staff. The welcome I have received a week into my new job – despite joining during Adult Learners’ Week, one of the busiest periods in the year – has...Read more »

We need to reassert the value of part-time higher study
18 February 2013 by Mary Stuart

We need to reassert the value of part-time higher study

The latest guest blog exploring the decline in part-time HE student recruitment - Mary Stuart asks why the introduction of loans for part-time students has failed to deliver the expected boost in part-time HE and reflects on the cost to the economy and to society more widely.

Skills at 35
7 February 2013 by David Hughes

Skills at 35

On Tuesday night I spoke at a National Skills Forum seminar in the Houses of Parliament on the subject of Skills at 35, along with two great students, amongst others. It was an interesting session and...Read more »

12 December 2012 by Guest Blogger

The role of skills within the Work Programme

Today, NIACE has published a new free guide – The Work Programme: What is the role of skills available at – to help many more Work Programme Prime and sub-Prime providers make skills provision available to their programme participants through working in partnership with learning providers.  

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