Articles from NCFE

What About Adults? Too Many Lack the Skills Needed to be Successful

NCFE and the Campaign for Learning consider the future of post-18 education, in their recent volume of opinion pieces: 'The post-18 review of education and funding: a review of a lifetime' , where John Widdowson's urges Government not to overlook Adult Education:

There's nothing 'soft' about 'soft skills'

A new campaign by employers is backing 'soft skills' as a key factor for success in the workplace. Research has shown that transferable skills such as communication, initiative, and team work have a clear economic value worth a huge £88bn to the UK economy (taking into consideration things such as speed of service, meeting quality standards, operating costs etc). Hard figures to back up 'soft skills'.

Apprenticeships – the buzz word of the party conference season

As the 3 major political parties begin to set their sights on the General Election, which is now less than 6 months away, apprenticeships are becoming one of the hot topics of the election build-up.With the parties now jostling for pole position as their campaigns begin to build momentum, the subject of apprenticeships has cut through the noise and conflicting standpoints with a refreshing degree of consensus.That consensus being, apprenticeships will play a crucial role in helping the next government drive the country's emergence from economic recession, reduce youth unemployment and improve social mobility.Setting out his stall, Ed Miliband pledged that a Labour government would see the number of young people starting apprenticeships equal those going to university by 2025. Miliband's long term view for apprenticeships will also see their duration set to a minimum length of two years.Sharing his own vision for apprenticeships, George Osborne used the Conservative conference to announce the creation of three million apprenticeships during the next parliament. To fund this increase, the Conservatives revealed plans to tighten benefit caps for under 21-year-olds through cutting housing benefits and withdrawing jobseekers allowance from those who don't find work in six months.In reference to these proposed cuts Prime Minster David Cameron said: "I want us effectively to abolish youth unemployment. I want us to end the idea that aged 18 you leave school, go and leave home, claim unemployment benefit and claim housing benefit. We should not be offering that choice to young people. We should be saying to people you should be earning or learning".Although the Liberal Democrats chose not to talk numbers when pledging their commitment to apprenticeships, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg did call for an increase in the minimum wage for apprentices from £2.73 to £3.79.At NCFE, we firmly support the shift in focus towards apprenticeships so it's encouraging to see that whichever way the election swings in May, the future looks positive for work based training and in turn, the future looks positive for young learners.This being said, with a projected growth in the number of apprenticeships, the next government must work closely with both employers and educators to ensure the high standard of apprenticeship delivery is maintained. Quantity must not substitute quality.We remain committed to providing the sector with high quality vocational qualifications and apprenticeships, and look forward to working with colleges and training providers to meet increased demands of the future industry needs.David Grailey is chief executive of NCFE, the national awarding organisation

Mending the Gap: Are the needs of 16-18 year olds being met?

At a time of great political and economic change following the decision to leave the European Union there is widespread recognition that the need for a workforce equipped to operate in a high skills economy has never been greater.

High costs put people off advancing their education

Last week marked the 7th annual VQ day - a celebration of vocational achievement highlighting the benefits of practical and technical learning to both the individual and society.Over 400 schools, colleges and work-based providers got involved in the nation-wide celebrations and at NCFE, we didn't let the day go by unnoticed. As well as highlighting some fantastic learner success stories, we also conducted some timely research to find out what the barriers are that stop people advancing their education.The results of the survey (carried out with 2000 adults across the UK) outlined that the high cost of furthering your education is the factor that prevents almost half of UK adults gaining advance qualifications. This comes as figures show that the average graduate debt is now £53,000 after tuition fees rose in September 2012.

'Outstanding' use of flexible learning highlighted by Ofsted in wake of FELTAG report

In March, I spoke about the report that came from the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG), which shook the sector with its vision of a digital future.

The future's ... digital?

Looking to the future, the landscape of educational delivery is far from clear, particularly with regards to the use of technology in education – a hot topic on everyone's lips at the moment.This month, a report was published by the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG), making a number of interesting recommendations to Skills Minister Matthew Hancock regarding their vision of a digital future.FELTAG asserts that learning technology, when used astutely, can improve FE learners' chances of reaching their potential. This is partly based upon the fact that through digital learning, a greater pool of learners can be reached, giving more people the opportunity to achieve and succeed. People want flexible learning at a time, place and pace that suits their needs and their lifestyle – an online learning experience can offer this, engaging learners who have otherwise lost interest.The paper's recommendations are split into clear sections looking at the effect on the learner, the employer and FE staff as well as exploring what level of investment is required, and how the regulatory and funding systems should support the adoption of new digital methods.Ofsted is encouraged to include a requirement for all providers to explicitly embed e-learning in their teaching strategy whilst awarding organisations are urged to increase the amount of e-assessment across FE. As far as funding is concerned, the report promotes funding by 'learning presence', not 'physical attendance' and expresses the opinion that by 2015-16, there should be a 10% wholly online component to every publicly funded qualification.In line with other recent reports, FELTAG calls for a greater role for employers in the development and delivery of the FE curriculum, engaging businesses to find out what digital skills they are looking for.Of course, should the recommendations be accepted, there would be significant changes afoot for FE establishments. For example, the report calls for entire workforces to be brought up to speed on the impact of learning technology. This would involve significant investment in the knowledge, skills and understanding of teaching staff, management, principals, governors and support staff - this learning would then have to be refreshed regularly as part of their continuous professional development.At NCFE, we support new technology within education and believe that digital methods can provide a learner-centric approach to education, helping us to fit learning to individual needs. What's more, it can support and empower teaching staff to further strengthen their teaching. There's no doubt that the pace of technological change is accelerating and it's vital that the education sector keeps up with this.It's with this in mind, that NCFE offers online resources, online assessment and has recently launched NCFE Learning Hub, a new e-learning platform which can be used to register your learners and send them course content. There's the functionality to email learners with e-learning modules to complete, as well as tracking facilities and reporting mechanisms to show you your learners' outcomes at different stages.However, having said this, we also understand that with big change comes big challenge. There will undoubtedly be a number of issues raised within FELTAG's report which you may be concerned about.We would like to know – what are your thoughts on FELTAG's recommendations? How can NCFE support you with some of the issues raised? We're particularly interested in your thoughts on workforce capacity.David Grailey is chief executive of NCFE, the national awarding organisation

How NCFE is responding to SFA funding changes

As you're all no doubt aware, this month the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) announced some significant changes to their funding rules (Approval of Qualifications for Public Funding for Adult Learners). These changes may result in the removal of public funding for a number of 19+ qualifications in 2014/15, including some NCFE qualifications.

The future of Apprenticeships and Vocational Qualifications – it's all change

It's been another month of change and challenge as the Government publishes its Apprenticeship implementation plan, 'The Future of Apprenticeships in England'.

Improving the basic skills of our young people

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an Influential think tank, has released the results of its recent skills survey of adults in the wealthier economies of the world... and the outcome for England indicates some cause for concern.

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

AELP Events added a new event 2 days ago

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training in FE

Overview It is a statutory requirement for professionals meeting ‘robust 2-yearly training’ for those with a lead or designated professional role...

  • Thursday, 14 October 2021 09:30 AM
  • Online

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page