Kirstie Donnelly comments on OFSTED annual report

Kirstie Donnelly comments on OFSTED annual report

01 December 2016 / Be the first to comment

Kirstie Donnelly Managing Director City & Guilds said: “It’s promising to hear OFSTED say in its annual report today that there were some signs of improvement in the quality of apprenticeships, although clearly there is a lot more to do. The focus should be on improving quality now and on targets later. It’s also vital that we create more apprenticeships at higher levels, and explore the opportunities that apprenticeships can bring to improving leadership and management skills. There must also be a focus on sectors with the largest skills gaps as in the post-Brexit world home-grown skills will be crucial to the future of the UK economy.

“The report also raised the issue of the lack of awareness of apprenticeships and subsequent low take up, particularly among 16 – 18 year olds. Young people must be told about the full range of options available to them, including technical and professional pathways, through vastly improved careers advice if we want the new apprenticeship system to succeed. The postcode lottery that Sir Michael talks about in schools is also true of careers advice and we would like to see young people across the country given far more access to employers during their education and destinations data made available to young people and those that advise them to truly demonstrate the value of apprenticeships and other professional and technical pathways.

“However, it’s frustrating that the inspector’s continued focus appears to be on lack of quality in the FE sector without actually taking the time to look at the story behind the numbers. As we outlined in our Sense and Instability report, the sector has been subject to a huge amount of change over the past few decades and there are significant changes still to come. This is at a time when colleges are seeing their funding reduce year on year and are dealing with the uncertainty and added pressure of the area reviews. We are pleased that the Government has recognised the role of professional and technical education in improving the productivity of the UK workforce and hope that the latest set of reforms, such as the Technical and Further Education Bill, are implemented with realistic timescales and proper input so that the sector isn’t yet again set up to fail.”

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