Industry News

QCDADnA Group has become both an awarding organisation and a provider of a new national qualification in Fraud & Claims Investigation via the Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF).  Where a lack of industry regulation & standardisation was prevalent, this small enterprise - working within the insurance fraud market - has sought to fill the gap through creating a recognised vocational qualification.  The first learners started to take this qualification in September 2009.
 
DnA Group's training arm, ALM Training, is highly regarded among insurance & legal institutions in providing the 'gold standard' in investigator training.  However, up to now, the only organisation setting the standard was the company who trained the investigators; ALM Training.  In effect the QCF has provided a way to create independent validation.
Press release ~ Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF) ~ DnA Group ~ ALM Training ~ QCDA website survey
 
LSN: During November 2009, a group of senior Government officials from Afghanistan will be in the UK on an inward mission supported by TVETUK.  They are scheduled to visit the Learning & Skills Network (LSN) to gain an understanding of the UK education system, with a particular focus on quality assurance.
 
LSN will be showcasing its work on the role of mobile learning within teaching & learning and how it could be successfully used in countries like Afghanistan. The visit is part of a UK-wide study tour, organised by the World Bank funded Afghanistan Skills Development Project.
 
In addition, following on from previous research visits to the area, LSN has lined up 2 important events in Abu Dhabi:
* LSN is exhibiting at the Building Schools Exhibition and Conference for the Middle East and North Africa (BSEC MENA) on 13-14 December 2009.  LSN will be exhibiting (& running a workshop) in partnership with architectural consultants Bond Bryan, with whom thye have formed a partnership to create education solutions, from the learning environment through to curriculum design & training (Read more).
 
On 15 December 2009, LSN are holding the LSN Masterclass 2009 in Abu Dhabi. The day consists of sessions from LSN & partners that help delegates gain insight into a variety of leading edge topics that will give them new skills to help strengthen leadership & management within their organisations. In addition, there will be a practical session for delegates to try out 2 products to improve effectiveness – Micro Tools and Fierce conversations. .
Press release ~ Second press release ~ TVET UK ~ Afghanistan Skills Development Project ~ Architectural consultants Bond Bryan
 
ScotGov: The winners of the Scottish Government's first Energy Efficiency Design Awards (EEDA) will help cut bills for people living in fuel poverty and reduce emissions. Hard to treat homes can be, for example, homes with solid walls, no loft space, homes without a gas or oil connection and homes where, for technical or practical reasons, staple energy efficiency measures cannot be fitted.  Because of high heating bills, families who would otherwise cope relatively well in a more energy efficient home could find themselves in fuel poverty.
 
The EEDA is a £1m fund to bring together designers, construction & manufacturing, housing associations, councils or community groups to create the best energy efficiency solutions for Scotland.  The aim is to drive innovation, research & development of new low carbon products & services for the retrofit market, as well as developing skills & capabilities of business and supporting local supply chains.
 
The second round of the EEDA opened to applications from now until April 2010.  This year, applicants may also apply for up to £5,000 for costs of any feasibility studies to undertake for the project.
Press release ~ Energy Efficiency Design Awards
 
DECC: New research that could solve the problem of radar interference from wind turbines has started with £5.15m in funding.  Aviation radar objections are one of the largest causes of wind planning applications being rejected or withdrawn in the UK.  There are currently objections to over 5GW of wind farms that are in the planning system by NATS, (formerly National Air Traffic Services).
 
The research will conclude in April 2011.  It will be conducted by a team of NATS technical experts overseeing Raytheon's investigations. A number of projects have been granted consent by DECC, the Scottish Executive and local planning authorities on the proviso that a solution to their potential radar interference is implemented.  If the research is successful then these conditions could be lifted, allowing these projects to start construction.
Press release ~ British Wind Energy Association ~ NATS (formerly National Air Traffic Services) ~ Onshore Wind: Aeronautical and Military Impacts - BIS ~ Memorandum of Understanding ~ DECC – Wind Power ~ BWEA - Planning and Wind energy ~ The economics of Onshore Wind Energy ~ Consents for Onshore Wind Farms Briefing ~ Positive planning for onshore wind ~ Marine Estate at The Crown Estate – Wind Energy
 
LSIS: The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) and Becta have announced a new collaboration on the eCPD programme. The LSIS eCPD Programme provides a national structure that organisations in the learning & skills sector can use to raise standards in the effective use of e-learning.  Individuals can use it to generate evidence towards recognised national awards, or as part of their CPD requirement from the Institute for Learning.
 
Right from the start, there was overwhelming interest from the sector, resulting that the eCPD training was massively oversubscribed with a long waiting list.  To prevent any delay to the programme and meet the genuine level of need in the sector, Becta has agreed to match additional funding from LSIS to ensure an extension to the programme.  The extension will fund:
* 40 additional training places
* development with the sector of front-line guidance & products to maximise the impact  & sustainability of the programme
* an online multimedia version of the programme for supported self study
Press release ~ eCPD Programme ~ BECTA ~ LSIS
 
DCSF: Schools Minister, Vernon Coaker, claims that a new online recruitment website could reduce the national cost of advertising for permanent school teacher & support staff posts by almost two-thirds.  52 local authorities (8,000 schools) and 32 academies have already signed up to the new Schools Recruitment Service – offering schools a faster, more efficient & standardised application system.
 
At the moment there is no uniform approach to filling vacancies – with different schools & LAs having different application forms & processes which slow down the recruitment process and increase costs.  Through a single screen, a LA will be able to view a summary of all recruitment activity of their schools and it may also help identify skill shortages and other recruitment patterns.
 
Candidates can submit their job preferences for potential vacancies and receive job alerts for relevant roles that match their criteria – building up a ‘talent pool’, where schools & LAs can choose to contact suitable candidates directly and invite them to apply for a position.
 
Schools or local authorities that do choose to advertise externally will have access to discounted advertising rates.  The Service also provides media information to help them evaluate the success of their campaigns to better target future advertising.
 
Tribal Group Plc was appointed the contractor to administer the Service in May 2009 following a European-wide competitive tendering exercise. The cost of using the Service for individual schools is based on headcount and it is expected that a typical secondary school would expect to pay around £250 per year to use the Service.
Press release ~ Tribal Group Plc ~ Schools Recruitment Service ~ Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) ~ National College for Leadership of Schools and Children's Services ~ DCSF
 
OSGeoVation, an online initiative aiming to promote innovation with geography, has launched an awards programme with a prize fund of £21,000 available to develop the best entries.  The initiative – supported by mapping agency Ordnance Survey – aims to help individuals, businesses & communities bring their map‑based ideas to life.  There are 3 themes: crime, health and the environment, although good ideas on any subject are welcomed. 
 
Submissions need to be made on the GeoVation site before the closing date of 4 January 2010 and entrants are free to suggest the use of any resources, such as Google Maps or OS OpenSpace.  Ordnance Survey is not claiming any ownership of the entries submitted.
 
The initiative comes as the Home Office releases nationwide crime maps, a powerful demonstration of how geography can be used to empower citizens and improve public service accountability.  Among the ideas already submitted to GeoVation are a service that lets pedestrians map safe routes based on the location of CCTV cameras and a text alert service, where 999 callers are sent the location of their nearest defibrillator.
 
A GeoVation Ideas Forum, to be held on 2 November 2009at the Royal Society of Arts, will enable entrants to hone their submissions before the 10 best are shortlisted and asked to pitch in a Dragons’ Den style arena at the end of January 2010.
Press release ~ GeoVation ~ Ordnance Survey ~ National Crime Map
 
BIS‘FutureStory Newcastle and the North East’ was launched at the Discovery Museum last week. It forms part of a series of 6 books made up of a collection of local case studies, with accompanying DVDs, tracing how people & businesses in cities and regions across the country are adapting to the global economy.
 
Produced with the help of innovative enterprises, education providers and other organisations across Newcastle (including Centre for Cities), FutureStory’s ‘Local Heroes’ tell the story of their city.  The book explores its past, present & future and how the traditional jobs of coal, shipbuilding and heavy industry in the region have been replaced by innovation, science and research as well as entrepreneurial businesses operating on a global platform.
 
The project highlights how businesses in regions across the UK can take best advantage of the opportunities offered by the global marketplace.  The FutureStory book launched last week aims to puts a human face on globlisation – how it is working in Newcastle & the North East.
Press release ~ Centre for Cities - FutureStory Newcastle and the North East ~ Newcastle University Business School ~ Talent and Enterprise Taskforce ~ Discovery Museum
 
DCSF: Leading education institutions and other successful organisations will gain a ‘kitemark’ to set up chains of schools under plans announced for consultation (Friday 22 January 2010) by Ed Balls. This is intended to ‘extend the reach of the best leaders, spreading their excellence and making sure that every school is a good school’.
 
The new accreditation process will be used to select partners & sponsors for trust schools, federations and Academies.  The Government expect that 50 providers will apply for the first wave in 2011 and it will provide £20m to enable the providers to drive improvement across the system.  Among those who have said they will apply are the Harris Federation, Outwood Grange Family, The Kemnal Trust and Barnfield College.
 
Research published by the NationalCollege (formerly NCSL) shows that ‘school federations raise standards, and are particularly strong when strong schools federate with lower attaining schools’.
Press release ~ Consultation on accreditation of School Providers and Schools Groups and on Academy Sponsor Selection ~ Schools White Paper: Your child, your schools, our future: building a 21st Century Schools system ~ National College’s research on federations
 
ESRCTLRP-TEL’s hapTEL project (Haptic Technology Enhanced Learning) has launched its new Virtual Dental Laboratory at King’s College London’s Guy’s Hospital, featuring a state of the art, 3D, anatomically correct virtual mouth.
 
The device provides a crucial intermediary stage in the development of dental students’ skills before beginning practice on real patients.  The project uses haptic (virtual touch) technology as well as online media to create training tools.  The team hopes to integrate this technology into the curriculum, enhancing & personalising the students’ learning.
Press release ~ hapTEL project (Haptic Technology Enhanced Learning) ~ Other TLRP-TEL projects ~ Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) ~ Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Newswire – AC:  The Audit Commission has worked with the National School of Government to produce a unique web-based learning scheme on the core skills in financial management for local government.  It is flexible, friendly and free to use - See 'In the News' section for more information.
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