Lifelong Learning UK seeks online feedback on data collection project

April 1st, 2009

Lifelong Learning UK is running a process of data collection about the workforce to ensure there is a better understanding of those operating in the lifelong learning sector.

We have been analysing and reporting labour market intelligence gained through the Staff Individualised Record (SIR) submissions received from further education (FE) colleges. Encouragingly, submissions for 2007/08 increased by 29% on the previous year and will provide our partners with a detailed profile overview of staff working in FE colleges.

As part of a data collection process revision, Lifelong Learning UK has now created an online consultation portal for all those involved in submitting data to discuss any aspects of the collection. The portal will enable frequent and simple interaction and will build a community of users to assist each other.

Tynan Rodger, Project Manager at Lifelong Learning UK said: “We’re really pleased with the response from further education colleges, and this year have opened up the collection process to work based learning and adult and community learning providers, which are also an important part of the workforce.”

He added: “Data collection is just one element enabling us to build a picture of the FE workforce but we also want to ensure we encourage an ongoing dialogue with providers. We are confident that the portal will be a welcome tool for providers to give us their feedback on the process.”

With the launch of the consultation portal, we are inviting FE colleges along with other training providers to log on to the portal, speak up and share their experiences of the collection process. This is fundamental to ensure its benefits are identified and necessary improvements are delivered.

We look forward to receiving the feedback and engaging in a constructive process to shape the future of data collection and support the development needs of all those working in this important sector.

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

MBO for Deansgrange e-Learning Co?

March 30th, 2009

ThirdForce, the E-Learning technology provider who has offices in Deansgrange, Dublin has confirmed that it has received an approach from its management team.

ThirdForce, the e-learning technology providers receives an offer from management team

The company, valued at 8cent per share, pointed out that it has not formally received an offer, but has appointed members of its management team and board, Carol Clark,  Alan Maguire, Eimear McGovern, Mike Newton and Edwin Robinson to manage the approach. They have also said they have retained Goodbody as advisors.

The company is listed on London AIM and Dublin IEX markets, and last year made losses of amlmost €3/4m. In recent years, and in recent years has acquired and/or merged with Electric Paper, AV Edge, Creative Learning Media and MindLeaders.

Source: irishdev.com

Strategy for tech-enhanced learning launched by Higher Education Funding Council for England

March 27th, 2009

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has published ‘Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of technology – a revised approach to HEFCE’s strategy for e-learning’.

This revised approach follows an independent review of the strategy and is designed to provide further support to higher education institutions as they develop their own e-learning strategies.

The new approach is intended to support institutions in considering where they may wish to prioritise their technology-related investment over the next few years, and to develop appropriate institutional learning and teaching strategies. Support and guidance is available from the Higher Education Academy and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). Findings from the review, which was carried out with the support of the Higher Education Academy and JISC, suggested the strategy has been useful in motivating institutional activity, but that some of the information has become outdated, given the current level of maturity in e-learning in the sector.

In order to assist institutions in achieving their strategic aims for enhancing learning and teaching through technology, the document suggests a framework focusing on: pedagogy, curriculum design and development; learning resources and environments; quality; and research and evaluation.

John Selby, HEFCE Director (Education and Participation), said:
‘Our emphasis is on recognising that technology has a fundamental part to play in higher education, and that it should now reflect commitment from senior management in institutions within an institutional context. Our revised approach to e-learning will contribute to the Government’s aim to position the UK at the front of technology-enhanced learning internationally, and continue to build a knowledge-based economy.’

David Sadler, Director of Networks at the Higher Education Academy, said:
‘The Higher Education Academy is pleased to have been involved in this review and the revised policy statement, and its emphasis on enhancement is one that highlights how technology can be used by practitioners to support students in their learning. It focuses on the benefits and the outcomes from using technology to support learning, teaching and assessment, which will be different in each institution, and could make a real difference to the learning experience of students across all higher education institutions.’

Malcolm Read, Executive Secretary at JISC said:
‘JISC welcomed the opportunity to work with its partners to contribute to this review, and suggest how technology can enhance teaching and learning to assist in the delivery of higher education institutions’ strategic missions.

‘Part of this strategy is already beginning to take shape through the current investment being made in the open educational resources pilot. This work aims to open access to high-quality education resources on an international scale. It shows a new approach to virtual education, and will help to maintain the UK’s position as a global leader in online learning.’

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) distributes public money for teaching, research and related activities. In 2008-09 HEFCE will distribute over £9 billion to universities and colleges in England. The Higher Education Academy works with universities and colleges, discipline groups, individual staff and organisations to help them deliver the best possible learning experience for students.

JISC is a joint committee of the UK further and higher education funding bodies and is responsible for supporting the innovative use of information and communication technology to support learning, teaching, and research. It is best known for providing the JANET network, a range of support, content and advisory services, and a portfolio of high-quality resources.

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

Villiers High School hits e-learning goals with open source Moodle solution

March 23rd, 2009

Meeting the Government’s latest eLearning targets, students and teachers at Villiers High School, Middlesex now have access to an engaging, interactive online learning environment that provides anytime, anywhere learning.

Choosing to tailor the free open source learning platform Moodle with the help of Moodle Partner Synergy Learning, the school is benefiting from technology tailored to the specific needs of its staff and students at the fraction of the cost of an off-the-shelf solution.

Government eLearning targets state that by 2010 all schools must have a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for pupils and use this technology to report in real-time to parents about key issues such as attendance and attainment. With a VLE, pupils can log on, search resources, receive and complete homework and talk to teachers and peers via internal email. Villiers High School is leading the way for the region by introducing a free of charge, open source online learning environment for schools. Open source software enables schools to use, change and improve the software with no restrictions.

The biggest advantages of open source software such as Moodle are its flexibility and cost savings. The software can be adapted to suit each school, from adding school colours and logo to selecting which functions they want for pupils. To gain maximum potential from their new tool, Villiers High School has enlisted the help of Synergy Learning, a Moodle Partner specialising in adapting the tool, technical support and training staff. The company provides 24/7 advice and support 365 days a year for less than the cost of an annual licence for similar off-the-shelf software. This support is particularly useful for schools that do not have a dedicated ICT coordinator and those that would like to free up teachers’ time that may otherwise be spent on overseeing the school’s technology.

Juliet Strang, Headteacher at Villiers High School commented: “Using Moodle and the support from Synergy Learning has been incredibly cost-effective, enabled us to meet government targets and create the highest quality educational tool for our pupils. We wanted technology that was unique to us, not a generic online environment that offered various functions we wouldn’t use and a style that wouldn’t appeal to our pupils. We now have a tool that meets our needs and the ongoing support we receive is invaluable.”

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

Learn Skills can also offer this support and advise for schools wishing to explore this option in line with these targets but also have a hosted LMS options targeting the needs of schools that would not be as familiar with the Moodle LMS.

e-skills UK and Microsoft bring excitement of IT to Diploma students

March 4th, 2009

Last week, around 200 Diploma in IT students from 25 schools were given an insight into working in IT. The students spent a day at Microsoft’s London offices as part of an interactive event to show how exciting a career in IT can be.

Throughout the day, students heard from Microsoft employees who shared their experiences of working in IT and the importance of technology to the wider world. The students also had a chance to try out Microsoft’s Surface technology and to see Microsoft’s Deep Zoom and Photosynth in action.

As part of the event, the students were challenged to come up with the “next big idea” in technology, with suggestions ranging from a device for the kitchen that tells you what’s in the cupboard, to a multifunctional travel gadget with GPS. Newham College from East London was runner up and the winning idea came from West Sussex school Steyning Grammar, whose next big thing in IT was the “eco-kube”, a device aimed at lowering your carbon footprint by telling you if you’re using too much water or gas, and providing advice about how to be more eco-friendly.

Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, who led the development of the Diploma in IT, said “This was a fantastic event and demonstrated how motivational the hands-on involvement of companies like Microsoft can be for young people. Giving IT Diploma students a chance to try out the latest technologies was very inspiring and showed them how what they are studying now applies to a real workplace environment.

“The continued decline in the number of students choosing IT-related A-levels and GCSEs highlights a serious issue for the UK. To compete in the technology intensive globalised economy, we need an inspiring curriculum in schools that attracts talented students into technology-related degrees and careers. We are proud to be working with leading employers to ensure that the Diploma in IT does just that.”

Computer Training Courses Can Improve Your Career Prospects in 2009

January 30th, 2009

Planning for progress in any career of your choice is compulsory if you intend to succeed in future. Part of planning for this progress will entail you studying hard and getting advanced qualifications that will place you ahead of you ahead of your peers in the quest to succeed in the job market. These qualifications that are required may vary but most of these courses usually have something or the other to do with computers. Learning a course that has some emphasis on computer based learning will give you the required edge to prevent you from veering into the road of extinction and failing to get the requirements for progress in your career. Different careers have started developing computer related components and by studying any computer training courses that are suited to the career which you’re in, you place yourself in a great position for career advancement.

Computer training establishments can be found in a number of areas around the country. If you’re lucky you might even get to attend a school that is close to where you work. If no schools or educational establishments are within a certain proximity to your office or your home, you can simply opt for another option and choose to study through online means instead. Before you enroll into any school that offers computer training courses you have to be aware of certain essential details which apply regardless of whether this school is online or not. These things will involve you taking the time out to find out about the current developments in your career and how these developments relate to the field of computer related courses. Getting this information can be as simple as reading about it in career related websites and magazines or simply by contacting different professionals who are knowledgeable about what is current in your career field. By opting for a program that has a large following and which is relatively high in demand increases the chances that you’ll get promoted or employed in an establishment that requires someone with your skills.

Computer training courses are suitable for a number of people and it doesn’t only apply to people whose sole source of education is computer based. Computer training courses are replete with people from different career backgrounds who require some form of education in order to familiarize themselves with current happenings in their particular field of industry. Success is becoming harder to attain in the model workplace and in order to achieve success in a competitive arena you have to think and prepare yourself by learning accordingly.  You can visit Learn Skills, Computer Skills and PC Applications for more information on computer training.

Kelly Hunter operates http://www.best-computer-training-courses.com and writes about Computer Training Courses.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kelly_Hunter

Learn Skills expands into Retail and Hospitality training with Didasko partnership

January 23rd, 2009

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23/01/2009 – Ireland – Learn Skills is delighted to annouce it’s latest partnership with Didasko, the Australia innovative learning solutions provider of engaging interactive multimedia resources.  For 11 years, Didasko has been a leading developer of high quality Learner and Trainer resources for the vocational, education and training industry.
They specialise in the service sectors of Hospitality, Retail and Asset Maintenance and their comprehensive resources and systems for the training provider, teachers and students delivers superior learning, operational and marketing outcomes.  Didasko Learning Resources currently provides resources to leading international universities, domestic and international colleges, training organisations, hospitality and retail groups, corporate sector and secondary schools with vocational programs.

Learn Skills shall spearhead Didasko’s expansions plans into Europe focused on both Retails and Hospitality Unit.  This comprehensive range of courses shall be made available both on-line and also when required in CD-Rom format.  With over 100 on-line courses each supported by both a Learner Guide and Training Delivery Guide to deliver the first complete solution for Retail and Hospitality education and training in Europe. These comprehensive resources and systems for training providers, teachers and students deliver superior learning outcomes and improved operational and marketing effectiveness.

For Education and Training providers:
• The full package – from curriculum to delivery and assessment
• Tailored ordering and packaging for each student
• Low flat rate / unit
• Customised branding of the materials
• Distribution options – CD-ROM, PDF, USB, on-line
• Easy online ordering 24/7
• Just in Time delivery – all orders despatched within 48 hours

For Teachers and Trainers:

• Comprehensive tools support teacher compliance and learner
management :
(Training and Assessment plans, Learner contact logs, Competency
Assessment Matrix, Employability Self Assessment, Skills Demonstration
Training record)
• Use of multiple “adult learning” principles
• Greater focus on delivery and student centric

For Students:

• Tailored customised packaging of learner units
• Engaging interactive multimedia (text, graphics, animation, sound,
video and self assessments)
• Underpinning knowledge is gained
• Extensive glossaries and recipe files within the units
• Self evaluation worksheets
• Supports all student learning categories – ESL or learning difficulties

Irish Hardware Skillnet invites Learn Skills to attend the Hardware / DIY Home Garden Show

January 23rd, 2009
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Learn Skills is placed to announce that it will have a stand at this years Hardware / DIY Home Garden Show (www.irishhardwarefair.com) which takes place on Sunday 1st February (10am – 6pm) and Monday 2nd February 2009 (10am – 5pm) at the RDS Simmonscourt, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.  This biannual trade only show attracts Hardware DIY Garden Centre and Building Materials retailers and suppliers from the whole island of Ireland and the footfall is in the thousands each day.

Learn Skills will have its stand within the “Training Village”, on Sunday 1st February (10am – 6pm) where we will showcase our comprehensive range of web-based staff training materials, but also launch our newly acquire Retail Training Units which deliver training in all key skills associated with a productive retail employee.  Learn Skills has been invited by the Irish Hardware Skillnet who aims to facilitate Learn Skills:

  • meeting key people from our member companies on a one to one basis
  • discussing training options
  • providing information packs
  • networking with fellow trainers & companies in the network

As well as Hardware/DIT the show will feature a substantial number of top industry exhibitors from the Garden and Home Section.  Over 2,000 retailers from Ireland, North and South, are set to descend on the Show over the two days. The event gives them an opportunity to preview and forward order new season products.  The event is a major showcase for new products and items,like Learn Skills Retail Training and the Learn Skills platform,  which will most likely be seen in homes throughout the country over the next year or so.  It is the only Trade Show of its kind in Ireland, and will be the biggest event since the show started back in 1996.

Ms Catherine Shiels, President of the Irish Hardware & Building Materials Association, says “Retailers and exhibitors will make valuable contacts at the Show with outstanding potential for new profit opportunities. The Show will be the launch pad for numerous new products that will find their way into retailers to be enjoyed by householders across the country.”

Members of the Irish Hardware & Building Materials Association (IHBMA) Board, Steering Committee and HR / Training Managers from our Network member companies will be in attendance during both days. This presents a wonderful opportunity for Learn Skills to present their products & services to companies, build partnerships and generate business for 2009.

Sean Griffin, Co-Founding Director of Learn Skills, says “The Hardware / DIY Home Garden Show will provide us with the perfect showcase for our Retail Training Units and lead to an enhanced profile within the Irish market for the efficient and effective delivery of cost effective staff training.”

New Skills for New Jobs: Anticipating and matching labour market and skills needs in Europe

January 16th, 2009

What is ‘New Skills for New Jobs’?

As requested by the European Council, the Communication on New Skills for New Jobs presents a first assessment of the EU’s future skills and jobs requirements up to 2020. The unexpected nature of the current crisis clearly shows the limits of any economic forecasting exercise but forecasts can serve to indicate general trends.

The two objectives of this initiative are to help ensure a better match between skills and labour market needs and to improve the Member States’ capacity to assess and anticipate the skills needs of its citizens and companies.

What does it mean in practice?

The New Skills for New Jobs strategy is composed of four strands.

  • It will improve the monitoring of short-term trends on the European labour market and develop several tools and services to promote job guidance and mobility and to address skills mismatches.
  • It will also help to develop better information on skills needs in the EU in the medium and long-term, with regularly updated projections of future labour market trends and analysis of skills needs by sector, taking into account business needs and the employment impact of the transition towards a low-carbon economy.
  • It will improve our understanding of global challenges related to skills and jobs through cooperation with third countries (notably US, China, Canada, India) and international organisations (OECD and ILO).
  • It will help Member States, regions and others involved in skill upgrading and matching by mobilising existing Community policies (such as the strategic framework for cooperation in education and training) and European funds in line with these objectives.

Why is action needed at EU level?

Member States are mainly responsible for education and employment policies. However a Europe-wide perspective can provide a more complete assessment of the situation, and results which can be compared to better understand common trends. The EU can also raise awareness of the importance of skills and matching as long-term strategic objectives. Finally, well-established EU funds such as the European Social Fund are important instruments to support the objectives of the initiative at national and in particular regional level.

Why should skills upgrading and matching be a priority? Why launch this in an economic downturn?

Across Europe, technological change, globalisation, ageing populations, urbanisation and the evolution of social structures are accelerating changes in labour markets and in skills requirements. Upgrading skills is critically important for Europe’s future growth and productivity, its capacity to adapt to change, and for equity and social cohesion – the low skilled are more vulnerable in the labour market and can be hit first by the crisis. It is the also best way to exploit new opportunities for sustainable job creation, such as the shift to a low-carbon economy and the development of new technologies. But upgrading education and skills levels alone is not enough, as skills gaps and mismatches are a common concern in Member States: ensuring a better match between the supply of skills and labour market demand is as important.

As underlined in the European Economic Recovery Plan, improving the monitoring and matching of skills is necessary both in the short and the long-term:

  • To address the employment impact of the crisis, facilitate matching with existing vacancies and help people return to the labour market;
  • To make sure that European labour markets anticipate future needs, to improve the long-term job prospects of the EU workforce and to exploit opportunities for growth and jobs.

How many jobs will be created in the future and in which sectors?

19.6 million additional jobs are expected to be created between 2006 and 2020 in the EU-25 (according to projections from CEDEFOP), while 80 million jobs would become available as workers retire or leave the labour market.

The gradual shift in Europe away from the primary sector and traditional manufacturing industries towards services and the knowledge-intensive economy is likely to continue. According to recent studies, by the year 2020, almost three quarters of jobs in the EU-25 are likely to be in services.

A focus on net job creation by occupation shows that there will be many jobs created in high-skilled occupations, but also significant job creation in low-skilled jobs in the service sector. In the service sector, strong positive trends are expected in business services (such as IT, insurance or consultancy); health care and social work, distribution, personal services, hotels and catering, and to a lesser extent education.
Past and future trends in employment levels in the service sector, in millions[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

In addition, efforts to tackle climate change and environmental degradation are expected to create a new ‘green economy’, with millions of new jobs across the world. The market for environmental products and services is projected to double by 2020. The shift to a low-carbon economy could benefit Europe, which already has a leading position in some of the technologies required for renewable energy. Environmental concerns also mean people will need to develop new competences in more traditional sectors (agriculture, transport, construction).

What sort of qualifications and skills will be needed?

In general, higher education levels will be required from the working population, as more and more jobs will require high and medium education levels.

First, there will be a need for higher and broader sets of skills across different levels of occupation. Across sectors, generic skills such as problem-solving and analytical skills, self-management and communication skills, ability to work in a team, linguistic skills and digital competences are more and more valued on the labour market. Second, a general rise in educational attainment levels implies that employers will adapt recruitment criteria and that a growing share of low-skilled jobs will be filled by workers with a medium level of qualification.

Why does the initiative focus so much on “skills”?

Skills refer to the ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems. They can be accumulated throughout working life, not only through formal education and training but also through informal training and work-related experience. Unlike traditional qualifications, the concept of skills focuses on learning outcomes (rather than years of studies, for example).

Evaluating employers’ needs in terms of overall levels of educational attainment of the workforce is not sufficient, as we can see from the problem of highly educated workers employed in low-skilled jobs coupled with wider shortages of skilled workers in the labour market. Every job requires a mix of knowledge, skills and abilities, including “generic” skills such as communication and problem-solving skills.

What about the role of social partners and business?

European social dialogue is a key instrument for mobilising social partners to invest in the right skills through education and lifelong learning. The Commission will invite social partners to develop joint initiatives to promote skills forecasting and upgrading, and to accompany short-term restructuring. The Commission will also consult with social partners at the sectoral level.

The Commission will discuss with stakeholders, notably the existing sectoral social dialogue committees, the possibility of establishing “sector councils on employment and skills” at EU level, which will enable representatives on both sides to organise collective discussions, where consensual positions can be reached.

It will also be vital for businesses to invest in human capital and improve their human resource management. Businesses are also best placed to assess their own skills needs, especially in a short-term perspective. Awareness and involvement of businesses in forecasting skills needs will be reinforced under the initiative, through a survey of employers and qualitative studies on the skills needs of businesses, notably SMEs. There will be a dialogue between business and universities to take into account employers’ expectations of university students and graduates.

What are the next steps of New Skills for New Jobs?

In 2009, the Commission will continue to work on common approaches, standards and methodologies and promote cooperation between Member States and other actors involved, in particular by setting up an expert group to support the initiative and activities with international organisations and third countries.

More detailed results will be also published next year. In particular, in 2009, CEDEFOP – the EU’s vocational education and training agency – will publish a complementary study providing projections of skill supply which help to identity skill mismatches and shortages. In May 2009, a comprehensive series of skills needs in 16 sectors will be presented at a series of conferences in Member States.

Better matching and anticipating labour market needs in Europe

January 16th, 2009

Proposals for better job matching and more effective ways to analyse and predict which skills will be needed in tomorrow’s labour market were presented by the European Commission on 16 December 2008.

New Skills for New Jobs proposes a series of actions to match skills with vacancies, to organise skills assessments on a permanent basis, to pool the efforts of Member States and other international organisations, and to develop better information on future needs.

The measures proposed in New Skills for New Jobs will help Europe address the short-term employment impact of the economic crisis and improve the long-term job prospects of the EU workforce. They are part of a package of measures for Growth and Jobs and complement the European Economic Recovery Plan, which was presented by the Commission on 26 November 2008.

The right skills for tomorrow’s jobs

Across Europe, technological change, globalisation, the shift to a low-carbon economy, ageing populations and the evolution of social structures all mean that both labour markets – and the skills people need – change ever faster. Therefore we must make sure to anticipate future needs and respond by enable people to develop the right skills.

The European Commission is proposing to improve the monitoring of short-term trends and to develop tools for better matching of skills and job vacancies on the European labour market. The Commission will also develop better information on needs in the EU in the medium and long-term, with regularly updated projections of future labour market trends and analysis of skills needs by sector. It will improve the EU’s understanding of global challenges related to skills and jobs through cooperation with third countries and international organisations. Moreover, the Commission will help Member States and regions and all actors involved in the upgrading and matching of skills by mobilising existing Community policies and funds, especially the European Social Fund.

Assessing labour markets up to 2020

With today’s proposals the Commission responds to a request by the European Council to provide an assessment of skills needs up to 2020. One of the preliminary findings is that Europe will see the creation of new jobs in the service sector: by the year 2020, almost three quarters of jobs in the EU-25 will be in services. Further, there will be many jobs created in high-skilled occupations, but also some job creation in “elementary jobs”. More and more jobs will require high and medium education levels from the working population. Across sectors, transversal and generic skills will be increasingly valued on the labour market: problem-solving and analytical skills, self-management and communication skills, the ability to work in a team, linguistic skills and digital competences.