AELP lobbies on behalf of its members to represent their views. Our main purpose is to lobby for government funded skills and employment programmes that increase work force productivity and improve social mobility.

You can access the latest news about our work here.

AELP Members can also access a wide-range of additional sector updates including our weekly Countdown newsletter, The Insider quarterly digest, and a range of webinars. If you're interested in accessing this market-leading insight then please visit our Membership section.

All Media and PR enquiries should be directed to Aidan Relf, Director of Public Affairs at [email protected] or 07710 305182.

Countdown Issue 1007

Date published: 22.01.2021

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Finally the FE white paper appeared this week. The hopes of some that it would be ‘revolutionary’ had long dissipated after the autumn spending review became a one-year settlement, but it was still an interesting read even if a significant amount was a retread of previous announcements. AskAshworth has a summary of the key elements and the AELP response is here: Outcome focused approach in FE white paper welcomed by training providers (aelp.org.uk). On a personal note, I am very pleased to

Countdown Issue 1006

Date published: 15.01.2021

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We met with the minister again this week to talk about the covid mitigation arrangements for VTQs. It is disappointing to find that once again, the minister is not budging on her position that FSQs have to be taken as an exam. I took the opportunity to point out that we have now entered a dangerous new phase in a public health emergency; the Chief Medical Officer has asked all of us to behave as if we have the virus and to stay home; that AELP members made extraordinary efforts to adapt to the

Countdown Issue 1005

Date published: 08.01.2021

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A new year which was supposed to start with the publication of the FE white paper has turned out to be another dark week for a sector doing its best to support learners, unemployed people and struggling employers. Before I start on this week’s events, let me first congratulate Nicki Hay, Sharron Robbie and Sue Tipton for their thoroughly deserved MBEs in the New Year’s Honours list. AELP’s full reaction is here: AELP congratulates 3 members of the Apprenticeships and Skills sector for their

Countdown Issue 1004

Date published: 18.12.2020

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This will be the last Countdown of 2020 and it gives me the opportunity to reflect on the most challenging year that many of us will remember. Make no mistake; there are many civil servants who have worked flat-out since March to support employers and providers to give the best possible chance for young people and adults to come out of the pandemic unscathed. They understand that this can’t be done without the contribution made on the ground by independent training providers who engage

Countdown Issue 1003

Date published: 11.12.2020

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My predecessor and I have different styles of leadership but in weeks like this, I sometimes feel I am morphing into a female version of Mark Dawe! I am of course referring to the enormous frustration about the government’s continued refusal to agree to a solution on functional skills testing. The same level of frustration is evident in the daily emails which I receive from AELP members who are dealing with angry employers and very depressed apprentices whose career progression has been

Countdown Issue 1002

Date published: 04.12.2020

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As I write this, I am recovering from a nasty bug although I have been tested negative for the virus. The sea air of Penarth is obviously not doing its job properly and I have definitely had better weeks. So Paul Warner had to step in and deliver my speech to the Apprenticeships Conference on Thursday before the keynote addresses by Peter Mucklow and Jennifer Coupland. Our chairman, Martin Dunford, also led for AELP in one of our catch-up calls with Kate Green and Toby Perkins of the shadow

Countdown Issue 1001

Date published: 27.11.2020

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This week has been dominated by the Spending Review announcements and the details are set out below. On a positive note, the chancellor made clear in his statement that apprenticeships and traineeships are still very much in his thoughts as part of the recovery effort. Treasury officials confirmed this when they called me afterwards. A week ago Rishi Sunak visited apprentices at Screwfix and we understand that more visits, including ones where AELP members are supporting delivery, are planned

Countdown Issue 1000

Date published: 20.11.2020

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It’s very timely that the 1000th edition of Countdown should occur when a new government white paper for the sector is imminent. This has prompted us to reflect about the 20 years which those 1000 editions have covered and what lessons should be learned to avoid making mistakes for the future. We should bear in mind of course that while some of us have been around throughout this period, ministers change almost every other year and civil servants regularly move on; the current ones may not

Countdown Issue 999

Date published: 13.11.2020

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The news that the economy bounced back by 15% in the period from July to September after the first lockdown will have no doubt come as a major comfort in the corridors of Whitehall. This ray of sunshine was obviously felt too by AELP members who engage with thousands of battling employers every day. But we are now in another lockdown and media reports suggest that we will return to a regional tier system of restrictions in December. Coupled with the fact that this week’s jobs figures show you

Countdown Issue 998

Date published: 06.11.2020

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As we head into lockdown, a call from the minister Gillian Keegan on Sunday night with no officials present was certainly unusual but clearly demonstrates that AELP’s voice and influence is being heard in the highest circles of government. As I said in my note to members earlier this week, I took the opportunity to outline to her the issues that remain important to the sector at this time, including of course resolving the problems surrounding the assessment of functional skills which is

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