Friday, 23 October 2015

Grow your own: skills as migration policy

by Mark Corney

The Conservative Government is taking forward three ‘stand-out’ skills policies.

The first is a UK-wide apprenticeship levy on large employers underpinning 3 million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020. The second is the immigration skills charge. And the third is the removal of the cap on the number of students in England entering full-time higher education.  

As well as representing the Government’s approach to expanding skills provision in England, they symbolise the emergence of a ‘grow your own’ policy in the face of rising net migration, an issue at the heart of the in-out referendum on UK membership of the European Union.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

What is the difference between housing benefit and maintenance loans for 18 to 21 year olds?


by Mark Corney

The majority Conservative Government remains intent on removing the automatic entitlement to housing benefit for unemployed 18 to 21 year olds. The stated rationale for this policy is ‘to ensure young people in the benefit system face the same choices as young people who work and who may not be able to afford to leave home.’

18 to 21 year olds in employment are paid a wage. Unemployed 18 to 21 year olds are eligible for Jobseekers’ Allowance or Universal Credit worth £57.90 per week or £3,010.80 per year.

In August 2014, 96,000 young people aged 18 to 21 were claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance although only 30% of claims last longer than six months. The annual cost to the Treasury is around £0.55bn.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Has the participation age been cracked?


by Mark Corney

From this month, the participation age will be raised to 18.

Young people aged 17 at 31st August  must remain in education and training until their 18th birthday or achievement of a Level 3 qualification, whichever is the sooner.

The categories meeting the duty to participate are full-time education, jobs with apprenticeships, jobs and volunteering of 20 hours or more per week with recognised training of at least 280 hours per year, and traineeships.   

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The case for Adult Skills

by Tricia Hartley

Tony Blair is on record as saying that a UK Prime Minister could easily declare war on another country completely unnoticed – as long as he or she did so in a speech entitled ‘Meeting the Skills Challenge’. 
Our laughter at the low profile of the skills agenda is starting to sound a little hollow now, though, isn’t it, when cuts to the Adult Skills Budget in England before the Election threaten at least a quarter of all learning and training provision for over 19s outside apprenticeships, and the rhetoric of austerity suggests that even more salami slicing may now be in store?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

FE Loans: Going Away? On Hold? Or Just Biding Their Time?

by Mike Cooper

24+ Advanced Learning (‘FE’) Loans have been around for several years; they approach their third annual start. Last summer, BIS proposed (amongst other things) to expand their scope ‘downwards’, in age and levels.

After long silence, the government response has come. Several proposals were resolved (e.g. removing the cap on the numbers of concurrent Loans, and transferring Higher Nationals to BIS/SFA funding and thus bringing those into scope – the first got a ‘yes’, and the second got a ‘no’), but the ‘downwards expansion’ decision is delayed until the autumn’s planned Comprehensive Spending Review, to align with a major review of Adult Education.

Not long before the response was published, a Campaign for Learning seminar explored the proposals; some wider mysteries were considered, too. In fact, those matters may well be rather bigger, wider and more significant.