If you are a registered HEi-know user, please log in to continue.
You must be a registered HEi-know user to access Briefing Reports, stories and other information and services. Please click on the link below to find out more about HEi-know.
Alison Johns, Chief Executive of Advance HE, reviews another week in which higher education found itself in the spotlight, even when a royal funeral dominated the headlines.
Charlie Ball, Head of Higher Education Intelligence for Prospects at Jisc, reviews a week of higher education news which felt much like every other since lockdown, as new research on graduate earnings and university admissions was published.
Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Institute of Students Employers, reviews a week of HE news in which student accommodation, fee refunds, graduate jobs, and research funding surfaced as key issues.
Reviewing a week in which issues affecting women’s lives were in the spotlight, Sandra Booth, Director of Policy and External Relations at the Council for Higher Education Art and Design (CHEAD), sees hopeful signs of moves to address gender equality in higher education.
A big expansion of degree apprenticeships “is crucial” to create a high-quality system that can plug the skills gap, according to MPs.
The government should make clear to the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA), the body tasked with helping employers develop apprenticeships and overseeing quality, that the growth of higher degrees is a strategic priority, according to a new report from the House of Commons Education Committee.
Degree apprenticeships are essential for apprentices to progress and “to create a cascade of prestige for apprenticeships and address our skill deficit”, says the report, The apprenticeships ladder of opportunity: quality not quantity.
It warns that a much stronger focus on progression through the various levels is needed, and calls for a UCAS-style portal for technical education to be launched to simplify the application process and encourage further training at higher levels.
Universities have raised concerns that delays in the approval of degree level standards, and the lack of consistency in the advice provided by the IfA, have led to some universities questioning whether they should risk investing in supporting employers to develop a programme.
In its evidence to the committee, the University Alliance said there was a “lack of understanding” on the part of the IfA about existing HE quality mechanisms, and the incorporation of these procedures into IfA processes.
More generally the report warns that too many apprentices are not getting the high-quality training they deserve and that disadvantaged young people in particular do not receive the support they need to pursue an apprenticeship.
While it recognises the good work being done by many FE colleges and independent training providers, it calls for clearer oversight of apprenticeship training and assessment and a tougher approach to poor quality training.
MPs also say “the opaque world of subcontracting” in apprenticeship provision needs to be given far greater scrutiny. Amid a tripling in the number of approved providers, the report recommends an expanded role for Ofsted inspections and a cap on the amount of training that new providers can offer until they have proved their provision is of sufficient quality.
© 2013 Media FHE, all rights reserved