Weekly Digest - 15 March 2017
Education and skills were the star turns at last week's spring budget announcement, with the Chancellor highlighting the Government's commitment to investing in skills and training in order to support their industrial strategy, and to help shore up any fall out post-Brexit in terms of skills gaps / shortages within the labour market. You can read Philip Hammond's speech in full here.
The budget not only saw funding being made available for education, skills and training, but also introduced T-Levels to a wider audience, reiterating the Government's commitment in supporting social mobility and encouraging greater technical pathways into employment. You can read the FE Week article here and access the LSect budget and T-Levels webinar slides here. However, in the main, the budget, which is the last spring budget we shall see delivered, appeared to give lots of small measures, all of which will be offset by the Treasury clawing back revenue through other means - a flat, fiscally neutral budget then. Commentators believe that the Chancellor will be making bigger headlines when he delivers his next budget in the autumn. Time will tell...
Other headline news is the publication of the new Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, which I know many of you have been waiting for. Early reports from the DCTPN Membership have been fairly positive, although a report by FE Week states that 25% of applicants were unsuccessful. You can access the new Register here. With regards to the ITT to provide services for non-levy payers, we have heard today that publication on successful tenders has been delayed, with providers being advised that they will receive updates via Bravo in due course. Read more later in the digest on the new Register.
Last week saw the 10th annual National Apprenticeship Week and there was a huge amount of activity both nationally and locally. Read the latest press release on just how successful the week was by clicking here. Apprenticeships are still retaining the headlines, whether due to the new Levy, the positive impact they make on businesses, or around the routes into careers that they can offer, and I can't see this changing anytime soon.
As we move into a new era of employer contracts, negotiation, standards and end point assessments, the Network continues to provide support and information to its members, but also to key strategic partners. It is vital that our partners understand and are aware of the changes coming into being, and how these may impact on the wider community. I see greater opportunity for our sector to work with others in order to achieve more joined-up and mutually beneficial outcomes. We are facing interesting times, and although there will be challenges to overcome, there will also be huge opportunities for us to seize - we just have to be ready for them.
With best wishes