LSNBack to basics for education policy? - Employers are struggling to find young people with the right skills for work, suggests new research by the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) which reveals that, when recruiting a school or college leaver, employers look for people who can read, write, do basic maths and show enthusiasm for work, above anything else.

But, only 13% of employers who had tried to recruit a young person said that they have always been successful. When asked to rank a list of 14 skills in order of importance, employers ranked communication skills first, literacy second and numeracy third.

Employers were also asked to identify ‘deal breaker’ skills, or the skills that if not present would prevent them from selecting a young candidate for a job. 55% named literacy skills as a deal breaker and 51% said communication skills, while 47% of employers highlighted numeracy.
Press release ~ Employability Skills Explored ~ Graduates lacking soft skills, employers warn ~ School leavers ~ Scottish School Leavers and their Understanding of the World of Work - Summary

CIOBInstitute wraps up mandatory requirements for building waste - The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), in partnership with WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), has launched an online broadcast to give guidance on implementing Site Waste Management Plans (SWMP); a mandatory requirement in England from 6 April 2008.

According to Defra the construction industry generates over 100m tonnes of waste each year of which approximately 20m tonnes ends up in landfill. SWMP’s provide the framework for construction companies to identify waste minimisation & management opportunities and to meet the Government’s targets for halving construction waste to landfill by 2012.

Throughout the broadcast, construction professionals can access a wealth of industry guidance such as the WRAP SWMP Template, good practice guidance and recycled content toolkit.
Press release ~ CIOB - Online Broadcasts ~ WRAP – Construction ~ NetRegs - Site Waste Management Plans ~ SWMP checklist ~ Site Waste Management Plans - Envirowise ~ Environment Agency - Site Waste Management ~ UK Green Building Council

CLG:  Not just a warm place to sleep - A new ambition for all hostels to provide access to support, training & employment within the next three years to help end persistent rough sleeping, was announced by Housing Minister Iain Wright, when he published an action plan to reduce rough sleeping to as close to zero as possible, with new measures to help those who have remained entrenched on the streets.

The Minister invited stakeholders involved in rough sleeping to join in the discussion (closes on 8 July 2008) on a package of measures to underpin the strategy, including:
* A renewed drive to identify & engage with the most persistent rough sleepers
* Universal access to skills programmes in hostels to develop an individual's talents & boost their confidence
* A new London homeless taskforce
* The provision of 500 units of private rented accommodation in London to enable those who are ready to move out of hostels, but still need some level of support, to live independently
* Increased working across government to ensure the one stop shops can provide tangible, practical support across a range of homeless issues

The Government's ‘Places of Change’ programme is intended to develop hostels from simply a roof over one's head to places where people can achieve real & lasting change.
CLG press release ~ HL press release ~ Rough sleeping 10 years on: From the streets to independent living and opportunity - Discussion paper ~ Places of Change ~ Homeless Link – places of change ~ Homeless Link: guide to transforming hostels into places of change ~ CLG – Homelessness ~ Roughly Sleeping (see ‘related files’ link) ~ Homeless Link: Action Plan to End Homelessness ~ HL: Unlocking Solutions - Developing Move On Plans ~ National Alliance to End Homelessness ~ Clean Break: Homeless Link Toolkits ~ More than a roof: a report into tackling homelessness ~ Preventing tomorrow's rough sleepers: a good practice handbook ~ Helping rough sleepers off the streets ~ Addressing the health needs of rough sleepers

DWPEncouraging good habits or just tempting fate? - The government claims that a new way of calculating Housing Benefit will help tenants become more financially independent and put them on the road back to work.  Benefit will be paid directly to the client to encourage them to take more personal control over their financial affairs by budgeting & paying rent to their landlords. 

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will apply to private sector tenants who make a new claim for benefit and for existing tenants who move address, on or after 7 April 2008.  It applies to tenants in the de-regulated private rented sector only and is a flat rate of Housing Benefit, which varies according to the size of household and the area in which the client lives.
Press release ~ Local Housing Allowance (LHA) ~ LHA Direct ~ Rent Service

LDARe-charging the environment - Moixa Energy, supported by the London Development Agency (LDA), has received Gold Status at the iF Product Design Award’s for its revolutionary USBCELL AA battery, which recharge itself when plugged into a USB port.

The USBCELL battery is more energy efficient to use & re-use compared to alkaline and other rechargeable batteries and should help reduce the 22,000 toxic tonnes of batteries the UK throws away each year.

It is already in stock across the UK high-street in stores such as Currys, Comet, Staples, John Lewis and Dyas.  Moixa Energy now plans USBCELL battery conversions for mobile phones and internet access devices that save consumers from carrying cables or adaptors.
Press release ~ London Development Agency ~ USBCELL ~ Moixa Energy ~ iF Gold Product Design Awards

CSPLA more independent view of what is needed - The Committee for Standards in Public Life has published a set of principles which it believes should be followed in the review of MPs' allowances currently being carried out by Parliament.  The Chairman of the Committee, Sir Christopher Kelly said: 
My Committee takes the view that the arrangements for MPs in regard to their remuneration & reimbursement of expenses should meet the highest standards of transparency, probity and accountability. We have therefore drawn up these principles as a statement of observed best practice from other sectors of the United Kingdom. It is essential that our elected representatives are seen to lead by example.

The Committee has publicly welcomed the recognition by the Members' Estimate Committee that one of the key requirements of any new system resulting from the current review is that it should command public respect. If the outcome of the current review fails to command public confidence then the Committee is prepared to undertake its own independent review of the issues involved".
Press release ~ Principles to Govern a Review of MPs' Allowances ~ Members' Estimate Committee

WAG:  First the Midlothian question, now the Valleys exclude English MPs - The 9 April 2008, marked a historic day, as the first Legislative Competence Order transferring law making powers to Wales received Royal approval.  The new powers will allow the Welsh Assembly Government to bring forward Welsh laws (called Assembly Measures) on Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision.
Press release ~ WAG – education and skills ~ Learning and Skills (Wales) Measure 2008 consultation (closes 28 April 2008)

Forthcoming eventWithout digital inclusion the government will ‘fail’ those most in need - In his first official engagement as the newly appointed Minister for Digital Inclusion, Paul Murphy MP is to make a keynote speech at the third National Digital Inclusion Conference 2008 – ‘Reaching the final third’, taking place in London on Tuesday 29 April at The Brewery in London. 

Hosted by Civic Conferences in association with UK online centres and DC10plus, the conference will explore the digital state of the nation and look at what actions are needed to reach the final third – the circa 33% of the population who are still missing out on the benefits of computers and the internet. 

Managing Director of UK online centres Helen Milner commented: “Digital Inclusion has never really been considered a central or sexy policy issue, but suddenly it feels like it’s on the cusp of recognition.   It’s got a Minister, it’s caught cross-departmental and cross-sector interest, and it’s slowly building momentum”. 

UK online centres provide millions of people with access to technology and support in using it.   They offer free or low cost access to the internet and email, deliver online courses and encourage people to progress onto further learning.  UK online centres are managed by Ufi, the organisation also behind learndirect.  
Further information ~ UK online centres ~ DC10plus ~ Ufi ~ learndirect ~ Citizens Online – Adi Alliance ~ ScotGov – Digital inclusion ~ Digital Inclusion Initiatives - Ofcom ~ Digital Inclusion Project ~ Digital Inclusion - D F P (N I) ~ ICT for Communities - Digital Inclusion Champions ~ Futurelab - Themes - Digital Inclusion ~ Digital Inclusion: ICT Hub ~ Digital Inclusion Panel Report ~ Digital Inclusion Network - Age Concern England

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