The Further Education and Training Bill will give new powers and opportunities to FE colleges to award foundation degrees, improve intervention for underperforming colleges and give Learning and Skills Councils the power to remove college principals and senior staff.
As the Bill was published yesterday, the thoughts of Mr Hayes on its proposed new measures appeared on the Conservative Home weblog.
Mr Hayes says:
"We should refocus investment to deliver high-order skills. Demographic change means that over 70% of the 2020 workforce has already completed compulsory education. It is vitally important that we up-skill and re-skill those already in work to maximise their potential and meet the needs of a dynamic economy."Good soundbite (maybe), but does "refocus" suggest that Cameron’s Tories don't support basic literacy and numeracy skills which are currently provided free?
Writing in the Guardian, Education Secretary Alan Johnson says:
“I left school at 15 without any qualifications...the only training I received was courtesy of the Union of Post Office Workers.
“My experience makes me passionate about skills and about further education's vital role in reducing social inequalities, recognising and releasing potential, and ensuring individuals and the wider economy stand ready to face the challenges of globalisation.
“In the years before 1997, further education miraculously survived decades of underinvestment and government disinterest. It was never taken seriously as an alternative way of achieving qualifications.
"As if that were not enough to deter employers and students, those who did seek out its benefits had to face the stigma attached to college qualifications...
“Thankfully, things have changed. After investment in excess of £55bn and the introduction of new qualifications, along with a more cohesive system, the FE sector has successfully prepared itself for the challenges ahead."