As the election campaigning hots up, it looks like adult skills, apprenticeships and employment support for those facing the greatest challenges are included in the main party manifestos – potentially bringing new policies and opportunities across the ESL world.
This week I’ve been working closely with the West of England Combined Authority Team. Paul and I attended a briefing out the new ‘Workforce for the Future ESF programme. Through this, we are hoping to lead a consortia application that will support SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) based in our priority neighbourhoods to strengthen their links with local schools, colleges, local authority/government and community based services and also to recruit local people on work trials and apprenticeships. We are developing our programme with the Council’s Economic Development Team, and will start with a pilot approach in the South Bristol area. This scheme provides a great opportunity for us to develop a truly integrated approach in localities.
Delyse and I have also been supporting the WECA Skills Team with setting up a new research project to gain a better understanding of CEIAG (careers education, information, advice and guidance) for local people of all ages – from primary age to those over 55. As part of this process I took part in a selection panel for a research consultancy that will be carrying out action research – looking into evidenced based best practice, finding out what’s in place and working in the local area, and producing a report with future recommendations for investment. We have persuaded WECA to also invest in some direct CEIAG activities targeting young people and their parents/carers as part of this process. An application has been submitted to extend the WORKS programme into primary settings, to trail a new family learning careers programme and to enable our priority secondary schools and settings to take part in the Raising Aspirations Career Event in February next year.
Last week at our London LEAFEA event, the presentation that Elke and I made about Adult Learning and Poverty was really well received. The LGA were present and they want to work with us and other local authority providers to promote and spread best practice. The Buckinghamshire Adult Learning Manager made a presentation about their successful employability programmes which includes the development of a ‘growth mindset’. The basic idea here is that when people believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, input from others etc) they tend to achieve more; they worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning. How fantastic if we could embrace and support a growth mindset in ESL – including everyone who works in the team, and everyone who engages in any one of our services!
Jane Taylor, Head of Employment, Skills and Learning