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Apprenticeship reform was always expected to dominate the agenda at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) 2014 annual conference, and that was certainly the case on day one.

It was already clear that, despite his protestations, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock still has a long way to go before he groups such as the AELP on his side, and now they have seen the devil in the detail, it appears the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) support is wavering too. In this supplement, we look in detail at the proposed reforms, crunch some of the numbers and bring you coverage of the growing distance between the CBI and the government on emerging apprenticeship funding policy, an area which has usually seen them united in the past.

We are also delighted to be here to celebrate Stewart Segal’s first year in office. Last year at this very conference, then-FE Week deputy editor Chris Henwood sat down with Stewart to speak about his vision for his first year. And so this year Chris, now editor, spoke with him again to look back on an eventful first year, and ahead to one of the most important years in the FE sector’s history, with the run-up to the 2015 general election.

We also exclusively spoke to Education and Training Foundation chief executive David Russell about the important role he believes his organisation can play in promoting the work of independent learning providers. At the end of the supplement, we have special expert pieces from six of the highprofile speakers attending this year’s AELP conference, from Education Funding Agency chief executive Peter Lauener to Ofsted’s new FE and skills national director Lorna Fitzjohn.

We hope this special souvenir supplement provides the ideal accompaniment to one of the most important events in the sector’s calendar at a key time for everyone in the FE and training world.

This time next year, it could be all change for the government, and the future of FE has never been more uncertain.