SMALL THIRD SECTOR PROVIDER SCOOPS THREE NATIONAL AWARDS IN ONE NIGHT!
TSNLA Trustee member, ELATT Connected Learning, beat off stiff competition from some of the biggest and best national FE Colleges and training providers to win three major awards at the prestigious TES FE Awards, held at the Grosvenor Hotel in Park Lane, London on Friday 22nd April.
The first ever third sector training provider to claim the sector's flagship prize of Overall FE Provider of the Year Award, ELATT defied all expectations by also scooping Training Provider of the Year and the prestigious Employer Engagement Award - an award that recognises innovative working with employers to get people into real jobs.
By joining up with employers' Corporate Social Responsibility departments, ELATT worked with IT industry professionals to support both learners and teachers. Tech City Digital start-up Crowdskills helped develop digital media and web design workshops, and supported unemployed learners with knowledge and skills around working in IT. It also provided realistic work placements and gave advice on how to network to find employment.
The results speak for themselves. In an industry where competition for jobs is fierce and skills needs shift incredibly quickly, over a third of the learners found immediate employment in IT, and the rest were placed on a freelance register for future work. All are now qualified and experienced to compete alongside graduates for prestigious jobs in the IT industry.
The TES Awards are a wonderful acknowledgement of the excellent work done by the third sector in helping those most marginalised and furthest from the labour market obtain relevant skills and employment. This is even more important at a time when policy makers and funders are considering how best to commission learning and skills provision in the future.
With many Area Reviews only considering the largest local FE providers, the funding threats for both directly contracted and Local Authority providers and changes to Apprenticeship funding, it is increasingly important that the contribution made to the skills and employment agenda by the third sector is highlighted and celebrated. Localism needs to genuinely include those organisations such as ELATT who reach, engage and develop local people, and shouting loudly about the sector's successes is one way to ensure local commissioners hear and recognise the vital importance of small providers.
Here's what some people said about ELATT's amazing achievement:
The Award Judges: ELATT has "pioneered a new approach to employer engagement" through its ground-breaking partnerships, and is an "outstanding initiative".
ELATT Chief Executive Anthony Harmer: "This Award is a fantastic endorsement of the importance and value that the third sector has in getting those marginalised or furthest from the labour market into sustainable employment. I hope that this will help raise the profile of voluntary organisations such as ourselves, and the part we can play in supporting local people into real jobs."
Chair of TSNLA (Third Sector National Learning Alliance) Cheryl Turner: "Congratulations to all at ELATT for this brilliant achievement. The third sector is often forgotten as governments focus on FE Colleges to deliver the jobs and skills agenda but these Awards show this is not the whole story. Not-for-profit providers such as ELATT play a vital role in supporting those most in need to get the skills and jobs they need to flourish. We are very proud to have ELATT's expertise on our board as a Trustee."
Director of Crowdskills, Iman Fedaei: ELATT's "clients have many additional needs and would get lost in the system elsewhere. But here they thrive."
Senior Project Manager of Opus 2, Kiran Noonan said of working with ELATT: "We have seen an improvement in our own staffs' wellbeing as a result of volunteering. This has meant people are more committed to the business and the partnership as a result."
Learner Ayse (unemployed for 15 years and now an IT Manager): "I have gone from zero to working in the City in front-line IT support and being so very excited about my future"
Learner Frankie (ex-offender, now a Game Designer) says "I don't think I'd be where I am today if ELATT hadn't helped me take those first steps into training and believed in my ability to progress and succeed.
ETF Recruiting Expert Panel members
The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) is currently recruiting new Expert Panel members. Ideal candidates will be experienced practitioners and managers who have expertise in key areas relevant to ETF's work. The Expert Panels advise on the core activity of the ETF, sharing experience, sector need, desire and perspective to shape our offer. They assist in designing and monitoring the evaluation of relevant areas of work, and can receive and endorse high level specification for future programmes.
Prospective candidates can view the full details about the role, how to apply and the selection criteria on the ETF website http://www.et-foundation.co.uk/vacancy/expert-panel/. Questions should be directed to Gina Hobson, Head of the CEO's Office, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 3740 8280.
Closing date for applications is 25 April 2016. The positions are unremunerated; expenses will be reimbursed.
About the Expert Panels
The Expert Panels:
About the Education and Training Foundation
The Education and Training Foundation is a charity focused on raising the standard of work-related skills training and further education. We work across the national post-16 education and training system to ensure that learners and employers benefit from the professional teaching of work related skills needed for a high-skills globally-competitive economy.
Our aims are to:
NEW TSNLA BLOG! THE CHALLENGE OF SKILLS DEVOLUTION
The challenge of skills devolution
In January, the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) published guidance on changes to the adult education budget, including the absorption of the previously ring-fenced community learning budget, trailed by skills minister Nick Boles in December's funding letter. The government plans to transfer control of the budget to local government areas through devolution agreements, enabling 'local areas and colleges and other training organisations to reshape their local adult education provision' to 'tackle the economic priorities and productivity challenges a high-performing skills system should meet'. Transition towards devolution begins in 2016-17, with full-blooded devolution starting in 2018-19.
Understandably, providers will have concerns about these changes, not least in the third sector, whose contribution to this agenda has not always been properly recognised. This is in part due to decision-makers' lack of familiarity with this bit of the territory. But it is also due to the voluntary sector's own failure always to communicate its value adequately or in the right places. Of course, there are dangers inherent in the devolution process, not least that third-sector providers' contribution to employment and employability, particularly for those furthest from the labour market, will not be adequately appreciated or that learners whose employability needs cannot be addressed straightforwardly through a narrow focus on training for employment will lose out, a particular concern when local resources are tight and provider capacity already under considerable strain. Nevertheless, we need also to see this as an opportunity to make ourselves better and more widely understood.
The trend towards devolution in adult education and skills is, therefore, something we should welcome, albeit cautiously, recognising that, done well, it represents a real opportunity to better join up education, learning, employment and skills. Localism promises, among other things, a better matching of skills provision to jobs, a more inclusive approach to local economic growth, and a better, more coherent and less wasteful use of existing budgets, reducing duplication and ensuring resources go where they are most needed. That, at least, is the theory. The devil, as ever, will be in the detail, not least of how comprehensively and inclusively the agenda will be delivered.
Inclusivity, so often the test of whether a policy works or is buried under the weight of unintended negative consequences, is critical, and here there are some areas of concern. These include the government's programme of area reviews, another good idea, in principle at least, which takes too a partial and piecemeal an approach, excluding many stakeholders from the table in a process which seems more to do with saving money than with genuinely reviewing the capacity of local providers to deliver what local areas need. This is apparent in the failure of the review guidelines to as much as mention community learning, so often the key to getting disadvantaged or hard-to-reach learners back on the road to employment and a fulfilling life. Instead, the reviews focus narrowly on apprenticeships and vocational education, overlooking the fact that, very often, those furthest from employment need a holistic, individualized approach in an environment they know and trust.
The uneven development of Local Enterprise Partnerships is also a concern, with providers reporting varying levels of success in working with them. The role of LEPs is increasingly unclear but they remain important players. Alongside the area reviews, they are among the key drivers of a localism agenda to which voluntary and community sector providers have much to contribute. It is in the voluntary and community sector, after all, that adults who lack the confidence or motivation to enter more formal learning can re-engage with learning via less formal routes - surely a key dimension of any coherent policy for inclusive growth. Too often, however, the sector's voice is marginalised, as providers struggle to find ways to engage effectively.
There are many unresolved issues, not least the role local commissioners, perhaps the key figures in the emerging learning and skills funding environment, will play in a funding environment in which sub-contracting is increasingly rare. We need to know how local commissioners will operate and match provision to local need without tying up the system with more unnecessary red tape or over-complex procurement arrangements. Changes to EU procurement law could require independent training providers, who aren't grant funded, to compete for SFA contracts, which, previously have been renewed as a matter of course, from 2017-18, creating another level of uncertainty for providers. Some have raised concerns that the level of investment required to fund courses may not be fully understood by commissioners. One thing is clear, however. Voluntary and community sector organisations are going to have to communicate clearly to local commissioners what they can contribute in a way that reflects not only their own priorities but also an understanding of wider learning and skills needs and how they fit in.
This is an important debate and TSNLA is keen to contribute to it. We want devolution to work, for the sector, for the learners, for employers and for the wider economy and society. But, of course, we can only do so much. Politicians set tone: they create the framework and they help decide who gets a seat at which table. Recognition is important, as is a willingness to take an inclusive, holistic approach to learning and skills provision. There are some encouraging signs, including a willingness among ministers and officials to listen. We need to build on the constructive dialogue we have initiated with BIS and the SFA. The future, like devolution itself, will be very much what we make it.
We are at the start of a journey; a tricky one, perhaps, but also one which also holds out much promise. TSNLA is here to help and to ensure your voice is heard and that the contribution of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector is not overlooked, nationally or locally. We want a continuing conversation with our members. Let us know what you think by emailing email@example.com.
By Paul Stanistreet - on behalf of the TSNLA
NEW FREE PREVENT WORKSHOP ANNOUNCED! London 4 May 1.00 to 4.30 pm
The TSNLA is delighted to be working with Paul Butler (Butler & Trinity) in delivering three workshops on PREVENT. The workshops are funded by the Education and Training Foundation and are FREE and you can also access the TSNLA Bursary to claim any travel or accommodation expenses up to £350 per person - on a first come first served basis.
TO BOOK EMAIL JOHN.HARRIS@TSNLA.ORG.UK - indicate if you wish to claim from the Bursary fund.
The workshops aim to provide a framework of advice, support and guidance on Prevent. Each of the sessions will be for up to 25 organisations in each region and will address the following aspects of Prevent:
With the threat from International Terrorism currently classed as "substantial" and domestic extremism also posing a danger, our heightened awareness of where these threats may come from and what we can do to dissuade our young people from opting to go down these violent routes must clearly be important to the whole sector and the community. Are we able to provide a safe place for debate and discussion on issues that may be somewhat contentious at times and yet being very clear about our expectations and articulating what we believe to be right or wrong within the training and educational sector?
These are tough and challenging times for many education and training sector providers. They are expected to be independent, make informed decisions about teaching and learning priorities and take responsibility for assessing the risk of vulnerable students being radicalised. This is at a time when there are market changes; reduced funding, greater emphasis on employability and off site learning through apprenticeships. Training providers need to understand the legal framework within which they are required to work and wider community cohesion.
CHANGES ON THE TSNLA BOARD
Dear TSNLA Members and Colleagues
I'm writing to let you know about some changes to the TSNLA's Board. After several years as a TSNLA Trustee and Board Chair, Tim Ward has stepped down after leaving his role as Chief Executive Officer at the Learning Curve, Wiltshire.
Despite the many demands of his 'day job', Tim has always been extremely generous in his support for the TSNLA, becoming a central figure in sustaining it through many challenging phases, steering the development of the invaluable TSNLA protocol with the Skills Funding Agency, and acting as a representative at the highest levels.
It's a reflection of Tim's experience in, and commitment to, learning in the VCSE that he was selected to be one of the first Further Education Trust for Leadership Fellows in order to carry out research into 'the Challenges of Leadership in Third Sector Learning and Skills'. His report can be found at:
Personally, and on behalf of the Trustees, I would like to say a huge thank you to Tim for his outstanding commitment to the TSNLA and learning in the VCSE.
Following Tim's departure, I agreed to take on the role of interim Board Chair. I've been involved with the TSNLA's development since the beginning, including as a Trustee, and worked in VCSE learning and skills for many decades, latterly as the Head of Community and Family Learning at NIACE (now the Learning and Work Institute) until July 2014. I'm looking forward to working with Trustees and Members to help sustain and strengthen the TSNLA as a 'voice' for learning in the VCSE.
Finally, I'm delighted to report that the TSNLA has two new Trustees: Stephen Jeffery (Chief Executive, London Learning Consortium) and Joanna Cain (Director Education and Deputy Chief Executive, WEA), both of whom bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board and are warmly welcomed.
Chair TSNLA Board
NEW PART-TIME POLICY ROLE RECRUITED!
The aims for this new role are:
WE WILL CIRCULATE DETAILS OF THE NEW POSTHOLDER SOON.
NEW BURSARY SCHEME FOR CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT - 2015
The TSNLA CPD Needs in the Third Sector report identified that on the whole small providers are not able to access CPD opportunities - very often not knowing what is available and even when aware not able to fund it.
With support from the Education and Training Foundation the TSNLA is operating a CPD bursary scheme to enable staff in the third sector to access appropriate CPD opportunities.
If you or your staff need to go on a course but don't have the funds to pay for it or don't have the travel costs then this scheme is for you.The funding pot is limited so we will be keeping the application process as simple as possible.
What can be funded?
Delegates' fees for CPD delivered by the Education and Training Foundation can be funded.
Travel costs may be funded for courses which are delivered by the Education and Training Foundation or its owner organisations: Association of Colleges, Association of Education and Learning Providers, HOLEX - no others can be supported through this scheme.
If you attend a course provided by the Foundation you can apply for both delegates costs (actual costs paid) and travel - if you attend a course provided by AoC, AELP or HOLEX you can only apply for the travel costs.
How much is on offer and for what?
Up to a total of £350 per individual is available. The application process is set out below. This means that around 30 bursaries are available - more if people apply for less than £350.
Membership of TSNLA
To take advantage of this bursary applicants' organisations must be members of the TSNLA. This can be as subscriber members (free) or as investor members (from £50 depending on turnover for learning and skills). Go to our Membership section for details.
The application must be completed using the Word document provided - and returned to firstname.lastname@example.org - do call if you have any queries on 01943 510657.The form is accessible below.
CHAIR TSNLA TIM WARD A FETL FELLOW
We are delighted that our Chair Tim Ward has been appointed as a further Education Trust for Leadership Fellow - to see the photo go to:
The Further Education Trust for Leadership (Fetl) has handed fellowship grants, worth up to £40,000 each, to four senior figures from the world of FE.
Reporter Paul Offord spoke to Tim Ward (pictured) in the third of four FE Week articles to focus on the chosen fellows.
Concern over the declining role of the third sector in training provision inspired Tim Ward's application for a Fetl fellowship grant.
Mr Ward has been chief executive of The Learning Curve since 1999. The organisation is a charity focused on education and skills for the most disadvantaged and excluded, and Mr Ward has also been chair of the Third Sector Learning Alliance, which supports voluntary, community and social enterprise learning providers, for the last five years.
He said he felt passionately about the role that the third sector plays in delivering learning and skills provision, particularly for the most vulnerable and disengaged.
It is why he plans to use his fellowship to explore the challenges of leadership among third sector providers and how to meet them.
He said: "The position of third sector providers in the publicly-funded learning and skills system has been increasingly under threat. As little as eight years ago, more than 400 third-sector organisations held direct contracts with the Learning and Skills Council. Now there is barely 10 per cent of that number holding [direct] contracts with the Skills Funding Agency and the Education Funding Agency."
He added third sector organisations involved with FE were at a disadvantage compared to general FE colleges and independent learning providers (ILPs).
"ILPs can generate money through equity investment, while colleges receive capital grants and are able to borrow large sums to improve their provision and help guarantee their survival," he said.
"It's much harder for charities to secure loans and taking on contracts in the constantly changing world of training can be a risky business for us.
"We are a small but perfectly formed part of FE, but I do worry about the future of third sector training.
"I hope my research will highlight the good work that it does and perhaps throw up some ideas for how we can be more successful in FE."
Jill Westerman CBE, chair of Fetl, said: "Tim is a nationally respected leader in third sector learning and skills. His Fetl fellowship will investigate the particular challenges faced by third sector leaders of learning and how they contribute to the complex ‘ecology' that is FE and skills."
Gadgets & Gizmos - get your digital resources now!
We have run two very successful events focussing on supporting learning and digital inclusion through the use of smartphone apps, the Virtual learning Environment (Moodle) and looking at free resources via JISC.
Key inputs were provided by ELATT (linked to the Knowledge Transfer project by the Education and Training Foundation), London Learning Consortium and JISC - to whom thanks.
The events as perceived by delegates
'I loved the mobile session - very engaging, innovative and learner focussed.'
'Very valuable session - our Moodle development is at its early stages so very timely information.'
'Thank you for organising this event. It was really useful and I came away feeling really inspired.'
At least 90% of delegates went away knowing more about using apps to support learning, about the uses of a Virtual learning Environment and about how to access free digital resources.
In telling us about how using these approaches would make a difference to your learners it was very clear that there is a strong theme around digital inclusion - with leaners with dyslexia, learning difficulties, with low literacy etc. where you would be able to make learning more accessible in a range of ways.
How many learners!
We have been very surprised by the aggregate number of learners delegates are working with - over 100,000 and this is not including the delegate whose organisation works with around 35,000 - indirectly.
Further support from the TSNLA
A range of suggestions were offered focussed on digital learning and other content areas - we will be exploring how we might be able to resound to these.
Policy issues to take up with government
As you might expect these were numerous. Again, we will be examining these to see how we can raise issues which relate to digital inclusion and resourcing the third sector to this end.
Resources for you and your learners!
We are now able to share the slides from the two fantastic events held in Derby and London. We will also share a summary of the evaluations in the near future.
Using apps in learning: presentation by ELATT -
The Virtual learning Environment: from London learning Consortium - access below
This is the link to the online version:
This next link is to the LLC Moodle section, located on our website:
This will give you a better idea of what LLC do with regards to the multi-tenancy, you can view the presentation and they can also access our VLE demo page to get a feel for what Moodle can look like.
Foraging for Technology: presentation by JISC accessible via:
|Final Application form CPD Bursary Application 2015.docx||971.7 KB|
|Final CPD Bursary Offer 2015.docx||970.74 KB|
The TSNLA is well placed to act as the ‘voice' and representative of third sector providers. Given current developments at the Skills Funding Agency the key TSNLA activity is focused around the introduction of Minimum Contract Levels, their impact on sector providers and the learner and the changes in ESF procurement.
The Third Sector National Learning Alliance (TSNLA) is the voice for all Third Sector learning and skills providers. The Third Sector is uniquely placed to meet the diverse and changing learning needs of our present day society. To fulfil its potential, it needs a strong and coherent voice.