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Further Education in Scotland 2002

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FURTHER EDUCATION IN SCOTLAND 2002

FE IN THE WIDER CONTEXT
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Prize-winning Chefs Scott Shand, Graham Nicol, Claire Reid and tutor, Garry Watson, became the toast of Angus College when they beat off hundreds of top catering schools across the UK to lift the Student Chef Challenge Cup in London.

LEARNDIRECT SCOTLAND'S NETWORK OF 400 LEARNING CENTRES

SINCE THE SCOTTISH UNIVERSITY FOR INDUSTRY WAS ESTABLISHED IN OCTOBER 2000, ITS learndirect scotland SERVICES HAVE ASSISTED LEARNERS TO ACCESS INFORMATION ON LEARNING. LEARNERS CAN TELEPHONE THE FREEPHONE HELPLINE (0808 100 9000) OR THE learndirect scotland WEBSITE ( www.learndirectscotland.com) FOR FREE BROKERAGE ADVICE ON AVAILABLE LEARNING.

A total of 158 learndirect scotland learning centres were branded during 2002 (now totalling 401 at the time of writing). These were set up to take learning into the community. These learning centres are situated in a variety of locations throughout Scotland, such as libraries, sports centres, shopping centres and community centres. They provide learners with the opportunity to undertake learning in a flexible environment, where they can learn locally, and at a time and pace which suits their individual needs.

In its first 18 months, learndirect scotland exceeded most of its set targets, with over 100,000 calls to the helpline, over 2.5 million hits on the website and an estimated 55,000 Scots assisted in learning. Stretching targets have been set for learndirect scotland services for 2002-03.

A learndirect scotland for business helpline (08456 000 111) and website ( www.lds4b.com) have also been established to provide dedicated information and advice to businesses on the training needs of their employees. learndirect scotland for business is working closely with key partners, including the Enterprise Networks, to ensure businesses in Scotland receive the best training advice available.

Throughout 2002 learndirect scotland concentrated its progress on building partnerships. The company worked closely with the FE sector, resulting in many of the FE colleges hosting branded learning centres.

LIFELONG LEARNING STRATEGY - Life Through Learning; Learning Through Lifehttp://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/lifelong/llsm-00.asp

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First Minister, Jack McConnell, and Motherwell College Principal, Richard Millham, award certificates to the first 16 Motherwell FC apprentices completing the Modern Apprenticeship course, including the club's star striker, James McFadden (pictured centre).

The Executive's new lifelong learning strategy for Scotland, Life Through Learning; Learning Through Life was commissioned in 2002 and published on 11 February 2003. The strategy's overarching vision is to achieve the best possible match between the learning opportunities open to people and the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours which will strengthen Scotland's economy and society. The strategy includes a series of actions to give people the confidence, enterprise, knowledge, creativity and skills they need to participate in economic, social and civic life.

The key actions in the strategy for the FE sector are:

  • merging the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council and the Scottish Further Education Funding Council to make possible greater comparability and transparency in the way that different types of institution and levels of courses are funded in tertiary education;
  • commissioning a study into the current quality assurance landscape for post-school learning and training provision in Scotland (outside of HE which has reviewed its arrangements for quality assurance). The study will report by early 2004 and the Executive will build on the findings as resources permit;
  • asking the Scottish Qualifications Authority, FE colleges and higher education institutions to collaborate when qualifications are being developed so as to maximise the potential for articulation and transition across the sectors;
  • developing a joint schools/FE strategy and implementation plan, including the review of funding mechanisms to ensure flexibility of delivery, to encourage locally relevant links between schools, FE colleges and employers; and
  • carrying out a full review of the funding of learners during 2003.

The watchwords for the strategy are responsiveness, relevance, quality and coherence. The Scottish Executive's aim is for learning opportunities to be responsive and relevant to learners' and employers' needs, to be high quality and fit for purpose, in the widest sense. The Scottish Executive expects all bodies that it funds to work collaboratively to deliver a joined-up and coherent system.

LOCAL ECONOMIC FORUMS, COMMUNITY PLANNING AND FUTURE SKILLS SCOTLAND

Further education colleges continued to be engaged in the Local Economic Forum process and are playing an important part in designing local measures to address gaps, overlap and duplication in the provision of business support services. The further education sector is represented at a national level on the two Ministerial task forces and at a local level in 18 of the 22 Local Economic Forums. As Forums continue to deliver on their action plans, they are also being asked to look at alignment between the work of the Forum and the economic dimension of Community Planning. Potential benefits are also to be gained from Forum partners discussing skills matching and labour market issues.

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Students studying towards professional management qualifications at Perth College as part of 'The Year in Industry', a UK-wide programme, supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering, which helps future captains of industry in their gap year.

Community Planning provides a process through which a local authority and other organisations come together to plan, provide and promote the well-being of their communities. A Community Planning Task Force was set up to facilitate the development of community planning in Scotland and to advise the Scottish Executive, local government and their partners on Community Planning and on sharing good practice. The FE sector is represented on the Task Force.

The Local Government (Scotland) Bill, introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 16 May 2002, aimed to provide a statutory basis for Community Planning to allow for co-operation between local authorities and other key bodies and organisations in the community. The intention is that communities themselves be involved in agreeing priorities, and how these priorities should be addressed; and that bodies, groups and partnerships should be encouraged to work together more effectively to improve services such as health, education, employment, housing, transport and the environment.

Local authorities will be required to initiate, maintain and facilitate the community-planning process. A number of key bodies will have a duty to participate, including health boards, joint police boards, Chief Constables, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and joint fire boards. While it is not proposed that FE colleges should be subject to a statutory duty to participate, clearly they have an important contribution to offer to the processes, as they contribute both locally and nationally to the economy and to the cultural and social fabric of Scotland.

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Elmwood College's IT learning suite.

Futureskills Scotland was established as part of the Scottish Executive's strategy for improving our understanding of the Scottish labour market and facilitating the better matching of people to jobs. The Unit has a Scotland-wide remit and is managed by the Enterprise Networks. It became operational in July 2001.

Futureskills Scotland will develop new approaches to understanding the Scottish labour market, identify skills shortages and help ensure a better matching of skills supply to employer demand. The Unit will ensure ready access to labour information and intelligence (LMII) on current and emerging skills issues by policy makers, education and training providers and other users. It will collate and analyse LMII from a diverse range of bodies, such as local enterprise companies, Careers Scotland, JobCentre Plus, local authorities and the new employer-led Sector Skills Councils. This LMII will be used by Futureskills Scotland to provide businesses and other stakeholders with the data they need on current and future skills issues at a Scottish level.

Futureskills Scotland has produced two LMII reports to date - The Scottish Labour Market 2002 and Skills in Scotland 2002: The Employer's View - which have provided baseline data about skills shortages/gaps which will inform its future work programme. Further information about the work of Futureskills Scotland can be accessed at http://www.futureskillsscotland.org.uk