Editor's Holiday Notice - Please note that our Editor is now off to enjoy a well earned break and the next WGPlus newsletter will be published on Monday, 8th September.
IoD - Newswire: Could and Must do better - Just prior to the publication of A level and GCSE results, the Institute of Directors (IoD) published its 2008 Education Briefing Book, highlighting a wide disparity between official statistics on education performance and the perceptions of employers. Other research included in the Briefing Book also casts doubt on the extent of improvement suggested by official figures.
Produced in association with the Curriculum, Evaluation and Management (CEM) Centre at Durham University, it presents official data on results in primary, secondary & higher education together with 3 alternative perspectives:
* the business view, based on a new survey of IoD members
* a view from university admissions tutors and
* a summary of academic research into changes in education standards
Key findings from the IoD survey include:
*Only 12% of IoD members feel the Government’s performance on education & skills has been favourable to business over the last 10 years.
* Employers consider young people’s proficiency in a range of skills has weakened over the last decade - particularly in writing and mathematics
CBI - Newswire: Good education should stretch minds rather than settle for easy options - The CBI wants many more young people to fulfil their science potential by taking Triple science GCSE, which is currently only taken by just 7% of 16-year-olds. It provides a better preparation for science at A-level, opens doors to new & exciting future career opportunities and will help Britain prosper.
The CBI says bright children should automatically be entered for ‘Triple science’ at GCSE, which covers physics, chemistry & biology and is worth three GCSEs, rather than the less comprehensive Double or Single-GCSE combined science.
The CBI says the policy of ‘opting in’ students for Triple science would require more specialist science teachers and more money for equipment & labs. The Government must also accelerate the pace of its £45bn Building Schools for Future programme to improve buildings and labs. The programme is supposed to be over 20-25 years, but the initial target of 100 BSF schools by 2009 is unlikely to be met as only 13 have opened so far.
The CBI also recommends giving bursaries of £1,000 a year to STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates to help pay tuition fees - at a total cost of around £200m a year - to reflect the importance of these skills to the UK economy:
* Science pays. Over their lifetimes, chemistry and physics graduates can expect to earn at least £60,000 more than the average for a degree holder
* People with science skills are in demand. 92% of firms (across all sectors) employ STEM skilled people, but 59% of firms were experiencing problems recruiting STEM skilled employees
Defra: GM crops are not the only food farming health issue - The Government has published a revision to its strategy for developing a comprehensive surveillance programme for antimicrobial resistance occurring in animals for England & Wales. Antimicrobials are chemicals (such as antibiotics) used in veterinary and human medicine. It has also published a document detailing the successes & outputs to meet the seven objectives of the strategy since 2004.
The emergence of antimicrobial resistance as a serious problem in human & veterinary medicine has led to increasing concern about the use of antibiotics in human medicine, veterinary medicine, animal production, agriculture and horticulture.
The revised Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Strategy outlines a programme of work that will further the Government's knowledge about the mechanisms & transfer of antimicrobial resistance and detecting the emergence & spread of resistant clones.
OGC BS: Combining to save - Six NHS collaborative purchasing organisations have put together an IT hardware deal with the support of OGCbuying.solutions which is projected to deliver more than £6.5m of savings in the first year alone.
The Collaborative Procurement Hubs (CPHs), which in total represent 220 Trusts across England, together secured the deal for desktop and laptop PCs. The NHS is one of the largest buyers of IT in the UK, procuring, on average, 120,000 such hardware devices a year.
CPHs were established by the DH as a key strand of the Supply Chain Excellence Programme (SCEP) launched in 2004. Their formation has enabled NHS organisations to come together to maximise their collective buying power for a range of goods & services. Up until March 2008, they have delivered £275m of savings, £5m ahead of their SCEP target.
BERR: There is no need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ in every organisation - A campaign to help businesses save time & money on employment costs has been launched by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. The 'Employing People' campaign is part of the department's Employment Law Guidance Programme and follows recent research which showed that businesses were spending unnecessary time & money complying with employment law.
The campaign aims to promote savings by directing businesses to Business Link's online tools, calculators and interactive guides, to help them understand their legal obligations and reduce unnecessary duplication of materials & wasted effort. In the last year over 40,000 firms have benefited from switching to the written statement tool BERR have provided - each of them saving around £120 every time that they do so.
By engaging with key business stakeholders such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), British Retail Consortium (BRC) and British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the campaign will reach out to businesses of all sizes, across a variety of sectors, offering simple, practical advice & guidance on the full range of employment issues, from drafting documents to simplifying record-keeping.
or information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
For Industry News please click HERE