Association of Employment and Learning Providers
Press release: Embargoed until Wednesday, 11 November 2020 at 00.01hrs
New research on Covid’s impact on the further education and skills sector shows that training providers, colleges and government all need to learn lessons from the first covid lockdown if apprentices and learners are to receive better support under similar circumstances in the future.
Qualitative research undertaken by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), supported by The Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL), found that:
As a result of these findings, the research report ‘The Way We Work’ makes five recommendations:
While lessons learnt need to be acted upon, the report’s positive findings on the sector’s response to the lockdown give cause for optimism.
President of the Further Education Trust for Leadership, Dame Ruth Silver, said
“A new authority and confidence have arisen among college and provider staff as they have striven to undertake both their everyday responsibilities and new complexities in facing and handling the crisis. We have seen creative and enterprising ways of leadership and a wider expression of this shift can be identified in the increasing tension between local and national leadership, which is again challenging long-standing ways of doing things in the UK.
“It is far from clear what trends will stick and how things will further develop, against the backdrop of continuing lockdowns and economic uncertainty. But it is critical that we begin asking the questions now. Some perceptions are changing, not least about the potential of technology in teaching and learning, the nature of leadership within organisations and the importance of trust, and the relationship between learning and inequality.”
Association of Employment and Learning Providers managing director, Jane Hickie, said:
“The continuation of the pandemic means that mistakes made the first time around are not repeated. We cannot afford to let employers and learners down in terms of trying to reduce the negative impact of Covid and supporting an economic recovery when it starts.
“This report highlights the extraordinary and swift response of providers at the start of the first lockdown to shift training and assessment online but the findings do not present a picture of unadulterated success and the sector still has much to do in terms of embracing the new resources and technological advances now on the market. At the same time, it is right to say that the regulators need to examine their own performance. Too often, AELP found itself saying to its member providers, “Just do what’s best for the learner”, but we have been encouraged in recent weeks by the improved communications and collaborative approach that the government and agencies have adopted to make the path for learner progression clearer.”
The AELP report ‘The Way We Work’, supported by FETL, can be downloaded HERE.
Contact Aidan Relf on 07710 305182
Notes to editors
1. Report’s research base
The research report was based on survey results generated from 53 responses from Chief Executives, Managing Directors or Directors and Senior Management Team officials. 59% of responses came from independent training providers while the rest were supplied by colleges, awarding organisations, adult and community learning providers, charities and others.
2. About AELP
The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) represents the interests of over 800 organisations delivering vocational learning and employability support for 350,000 employers. Our members deliver the large majority of Apprenticeships, Traineeships as well as programmes for the unemployed. AELP full membership is open to all independent training providers, employer providers, universities, local authorities, FE colleges, awarding bodies and schools engaged in skills and employment (www.aelp.org.uk).
3. About FETL
The Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL) is an independent think tank established to strengthen and develop the leadership of thinking from, in and about the further education system. It aims to foster and support the leadership of thinking in further education and skills. FETL offers opportunities to colleagues in and around the further education and skills system. We do this through our programme for the exploration of future possibilities, the events we offer and the resources we produce. We support sector colleagues to undertake research and development activities in areas which are of interest to them and which are relevant to the leadership of thinking, in pursuit of intelligent sector development. Their thinking in turn informs the creation of new, collaborative spaces of possibility, encouraging generative engagement with relevant partners (https://fetl.org.uk/).