Wanted: joint effort on skills

July 14, 2000

The Further Education Funding Council and its successor next year, the Learning and Skills Council, must work closely with other agencies to help advance the skills agenda, an FEFC working group has said.

Five new partnership review groups should be set up to explore how the FEFC and teams working on the transition to the LSC in April can develop these closer partnerships.

A report from a skills working group set up by the FEFC last autumn says the first review group should see how the LSC can form stronger links with national training organisations and review practice in the delivery of work-based qualifications.

A second group will look at how the LSC can work more effectively with regional and local partners, including the regional development agencies and learning partnerships. The transition teams should work with regional observatories and training and enterprise councils on the development of systems for data collection and analysis, the report says.

The LSC should also work with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority on identifying which qualifications should be recognised for the purposes of funding.

A fourth group will consider staff development issues in collaboration with the Further Education National Training Organisation, and whether the further education standards fund should be used to pay for a significant staff development initiative to raise the skills of teaching staff.

The fifth group will focus on how the LSC, working with the Careers Service National Association, might improve information, advice and guidance for learners.

David Melville, chief executive of the FEFC, said the report's key message was that the nation's skills needs could be delivered only through many agencies working in partnership.

He added: "The recommendations contained in this report set out some realistic steps that the council along with the Learning and Skills Council implementation teams can start to take, during what will inevitably be a busy and challenging time."

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