Election questions from across the FE and skills sector

Election questions from across the FE and skills sector

The election period officially begins today — and last week saw the leaders of the two largest parties being put on the spot by Jeremy Paxman and a studio audience on Channel 4’s Battle for Number 10.

Opinion was divided over who came out on top — but whoever it was, there were plenty of questions left unanswered for the FE sector.

So FE Week spoke to figures across the sector to ask them what three FE and skills questions they’d like answered by the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the run up to the general election on May 7 — as well as a bonus question on a subject of their choice.

All of our panel’s questions have been put to the three main political parties and we’ll share their responses with you shortly.

Which questions would you like to see politicians answer? Let us know on Twitter with the #FEelectionQs hashtag.

 

 

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April Carrol, principal of New College Stamford

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– Will FE be funded at all in the future and if so, for what?
– Will colleges be appropriately funded to deliver English and maths?
– How do you envisage the provision for learners requiring “second chances “ if students have not succeeded in the school system?

What else?

– Are you going to address tax avoidance?

 

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Jean Duprez MBE, manager of K&M McLoughlin Decorating

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– What would you do to ensure that government funded training leads directly to a job outcome?
– Why do providers get hit by a charge of 30 per cent top slice for form filling and would you stop this happening?
– What are you going to do to make sure schools are giving young people the information about apprenticeships?

What else?

– What will you do to tackle bogus self-employment in construction, thus creating a two tier employment system, which not only is illegal but also discriminatory with a direct link to the now ever increasing skills shortage?

 

 

Back row, from left: HR director Vanessa Jones, learning development team manager Clare Burden, operations manager Kathryn Osborn, learning development team manager Lianna Hulsdunk and apprenticeship recruitment manager Karen Penny.Crawford Knott, commercial director, Hawk Training

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– How can we ensure that vocational pathways have real parity with their academic counterparts?
– How do you intend to address the lack of effective careers guidance in our schools?
– What do you think of the introduction of vocational pathways in schools for those aged 14? What do you think it would look like?

What else?

How best can we address the imbalance of the UK economy and ensure that it does not continue to become increasingly London/South East-centric?

 

 

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Marc Pate, former apprentice Stonemason and WorldSkills competitor, now production manager at Wells Cathedral Stonemasons

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– What are you going to do about careers advice?
– How are you going to address the relationship between university qualifications and vocational qualifications and make sure their contribution to the economy is equally recognised?
– What are you going to do to support skills competitions and help continue the great work they do for young people who are involved with them?

What else?

– What are you going to do to help support young people who have found themselves in difficult situations with the law or unemployment to turn their lives around and get into jobs?

 

 

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Dominic Ceraldi, head of HR at Pimlico Plumbers

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– How does Government plan to better help employers financially to achieve its plan to place all school leavers, without a job or college place, into an apprenticeship?
– What does the Government intend doing to help build better relations between schools and businesses, in order to prepare school leavers for the workplace?
– The standard training provision supplied by colleges is often not relevant to the industry. How will Government address this issue?

What else?

– Will voters be given the democratic right to recall failing MPs during the next parliament?

 

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Jim Sims, development manager at Buckinghamshire and Thames Valley Lep

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– What will you do to break the current ‘top down’ nature of the skills funding system, to put more power in the hands of the customer (employers)?
– How will you support the FE Sector to generate more income to replace the 24 per cent reduction in Adult Skills budgets?
– What will you do to overcome the inherent mismatch between young people’s career aspirations and the skills needs of industry?

What else?

– What will you do to make apprenticeships and higher level apprenticeships the educational pathway of choice?

 

 

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Phil Hatton, former Ofsted inspector, currently lead consultant with the Learning Improvement Service

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– Rather than put increasing pressure on colleges and independent providers to improve the English and mathematics skills of our young people, how are you going to address the poor teaching in schools that is the main reason for the problem?
– What are you going to do about ensuring independent careers advice?
– How are you going to help the FE sector in raising the vocational skills and qualification levels achieved so we can compete in the world market in the face of yet more cuts?

Any other questions?

– To bring back respect for politicians should MPs not be allowed to have a ‘second job’ and should their salaries simply be linked to the cost of living index like so many others are?

 

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Dee Stephenson, NCFE futures team leader

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– As funding for adult education decreases by 24 per cent for the 2015/16 academic year, how do politicians expect adult education to be supported in the future?
– All of the political parties have ambitious plans for increasing apprenticeships but funding support alone will not achieve this — how do you think the reforms will help to achieve these Apprenticeship targets?
– What effect has raising the participation age had on young people not in education, training or employment?

What else?

– What’s the best and worst thing about being a politician?

Andrew Gladstone-Heighton, policy leader, NCFE

Andrew Gladstone-Heighton

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– Could you commit to protecting spending on adult skills outside of apprenticeships?
– Would you accept an evidence-based approach to education and skills, rather than a constant cycle of reform based around the parliamentary calendar?
– What are your plans to ensure that the current apprenticeship standards being written will be reviewed and maintained by the sector?

What else?

– Could we focus on reducing corporate (and personal) tax avoidance as a deficit reduction measure, rather than burdening it on the vulnerable in society?

 

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Mervyn Ross, electrical installation lecturer at College of North West London

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– How are you going to support FE by ensuring that by the time students come to us at 16 they are already equipped with the English and maths they need?
– What are you going to do to ensure there is parity between the way academic expertise and vocational expertise — which can be up to degree level — are recognised?
– How are you going to make sure that opportunities for adults to change or develop their careers don’t decline due to lack of funding?

What else?

– What are you going to do about careers advice in the compulsory education system?

 

Sandra Mcnally

Dr Sandra McNally, director of the Centre for Vocational Education Research at the London School of Economics

What three FE and skills questions would you like politicians to answer before the election?

– By how much would you cut the adult skills’ budget?
– What measures will you introduce to improve basic skills in the working age population?
–  How do you think the quality of apprenticeship programmes should be monitored?

What else?

– What measures would you take to improve UK productivity?