£20k lure for maths graduates to be college teachers

Maths graduates are to be offered £20,000 to teach in England’s further education colleges, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills says.

Grants of around £9,000 will also be available to graduates who opt to teach English or work with those with special educational needs (SEN) in colleges.

Ministers want to improve the numeracy and literacy skills of those studying vocational courses at FE colleges.

Unions said the move proved good graduates were not queuing up to teach.

The announcement by the BIS comes amid concerns from employers that employees have poor maths and English skills.

Around 8.1 million people – 24% of the working-age population in England – lack basic maths skills, the government’s most recent Skills for Life Survey suggests, while 5.1 million (15%) struggle with literacy.


Young people lack financial skills

Young people are entering adult life with “dangerous gaps” in their financial knowledge, according to a new survey.

Under 25s are showing worrying gaps in their financial knowledge relating to bank statements, overdrafts and interest on loans, according to a new survey from Barclays and charity pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group) to mark the beginning of My Money Week, which runs June 3 to June 9.

Of those surveyed, 42pc could not interpret the difference between being in credit and overdrawn on a bank account statement, while more than a third did not know the correct meaning of APR in relation to interest charges on loans or credit cards.

Around one in eight (13pc) did not know what an overdraft was, with 8pc thinking it was a low-cost one-off loan from a bank.

Tracey Bleakley, pfeg chief executive, said: “It is clear that many young people are entering adult life with dangerous gaps in their financial knowledge that could lead them into serious financial difficulty.
“These findings underline the need for all schools to teach their pupils about personal finance, to equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to manage their money well.”

Financial education will likely become compulsory in schools across England for the first time next year, following its inclusion in the new draft curriculum.

Personal finance is already taught in schools in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Money Advice Service released research last month which found that most children’s financial habits have already been formed by the time they reach seven years old.

It published a report compiled by behaviour experts at Cambridge University, which found that most seven-year-olds have already grasped how to count out money and know that it is used to buy goods. They have also worked out what it means to earn money and what an income is.

UK skills shortage holding back fight against cyber attacks

The UK’s fight against cyber-crime is being hampered by a lack of relevant skills, engineers warn.

Small businesses are coming under increasing attack from hackers, according to new government data, but a survey by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) found only 30 per cent of such companies felt they had sufficient cyber protection.

Recent research by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) found that 87 per cent of small businesses (and 93 per cent of large ones) experienced a breach in their cyber security in the last year, an increase of over 10 per cent.

But the IET survey of 250 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) found only 14 per cent of them said cyber security threats were the highest priority and that they already had sufficient skills and resources in place to manage the threat.

The IET’s cyber security lead, Hugh Boyes, said the problem was both a lack of engineers going into the cyber security sector and a failing of universities to include an awareness of the issue in the computer programming courses

‘It’s a combination of software skills and system engineering skills,’ he told The Engineer. ‘For example, many university engineering courses teach students basic programming skills but don’t focus on the trustworthiness of the software they produce – making it secure and reliable.

‘Because of the interconnection of systems, we need to increasingly think about how a piece of hardware or software works with everything else …

‘A lot of courses focus on the maths of engineering rather than the big picture of building systems and the consequences if it goes wrong.’

The government-run Technology Strategy Board recently extended its voucher scheme offering SMEs the chance to bid for up to £5,000 from a total pot of £500,000 to improve their cyber security with outside expertise.

But the IET survey found that only half of the SMEs contacted were aware of the government’s Cyber Security Strategy.

The IET is also developing its own scheme to sponsor cyber security masters degree courses at selected universities, which aims to give the sponsored students cyber security skills they can apply in their current job, or the opportunity to develop a career in a cyber security role.

Good maths at 10 adds £2k to pupils’ future earnings

Children with top maths skills at the end of primary school will go on to earn considerably more than middle-ability classmates later in life, new research suggests.maths image

The Institute of Fiscal Studies found that good maths skills at the age of 10 could add thousands to an adult’s earning power.

A pupil who scores highly in the subject can expect to receive around £2,100 extra each year by the time they reach 30, it was claimed.

The report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that a decent grasp of maths at the age of 10 could add more than seven per cent to a child’s eventual earning power.

Researchers also found evidence of a wage premium for schoolchildren with good reading skills, although the effect was considerably less marked than for maths.

The disclosure underlines the importance of ensuring that pupils have a good understanding of adding, subtracting and dividing by the time they leave primary school.

It comes after figures showed one-in-six pupils failed to reach the basic standard expected for their age group by the time they started secondary education last year.

The Government has now unveiled a radical overhaul of the primary maths curriculum in an attempt to drive up standards.

Claire Crawford, IFS researcher, who carried out the study, said: “Our research shows that maths skills developed during primary school continue to matter for earnings 20-to-30 years down the line.

“Moreover, they seem to matter more than reading skills, and over and above the qualifications that young people go on to obtain.”

The research looked at the link between the reading and maths score of pupils born in April 1970 at the age of 10 and their earnings at the ages of 30, 34 and 38.

It emerged that a child who scored in the top 15 per cent of maths scores when they were 10 were likely to earn around 7.3 per cent more when they were 30 than a similar child who gained a mid-ranking score.

This is equivalent to around £2,100 extra in annual salaries, the study suggests.

It found that children who are good at reading also had higher salaries later in life, although the effect was smaller.

Ten-year-olds who scored in the top 15 per cent for reading were likely to earn around 1.9 per cent more by the age of 30 – equivalent to an extra £550.

Elizabeth Truss, the Schools Minister, said: “This research clearly shows why mastering the basics in maths at primary school is so important.

“That’s why our draft maths primary school curriculum focuses on raising standards in arithmetic, including efficient calculation methods such as long and short multiplication and division, and fractions.

“The calculation of fractions, volume, and area will be introduced earlier. We are also banning calculators from 11-year-olds’ maths tests.

“Children must able to tackle algebra and statistics by the time they reach secondary school.”

Launch of new research project on enterprise education

With the world economy facing turbulent times and individual countries rethinking how they and their citizens can flourish in the global marketplace, many would argue that the importance of enterprise education has never been greater. But does this mean teaching people how to write a business plan or is it about gaining a broader set of skills essential to success in the 21st Century?

Read more of this post

Government offers careers advice through Facebook

Today saw the launch of the government’s ‘7 Day Jobs Challenge’, a new Facebook campaign that offers young people advice on finding work.

Developed by the Department of Work and Pensions, the Challenge is Aimed at 18 to 24 year olds, and particularly those awaiting their GCSE and A-Level results.

Users will be able to find daily tips on finding a job, advice from celebrity experts such as The Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry and Reggae Reggae sauce creator Levi Roots on writing a CV and setting up your own business, and daily discussions – all aimed at helping young people improve their employability skills.

Visit the 7 Day Jobs Challenge


The Co-operative Group launches £9m Apprenticeship Academy

Job prospects for young people were boosted yesterday with the launch of The Co-operative Group’s ambitious Apprenticeship Academy which aims to provide some 2,000 jobs to young people over the next three years.

In addition to offering ‘proper jobs with real career opportunities’ whilst based within The Co-operative’s business group (which includes food, pharmacy, motors, legal, financial services, farming and funeral services) , the Academy will provide apprentices with competitive salaries and the opportunity to develop transferrable skills.

“With youth unemployment hitting the highest rate in nearly 20 years and almost one million 16 to 25 year olds out of work, it’s a really tough time to be a young person in Britain, said Group Chief Executive Peter Marks. “We believe businesses have a real responsibility to help motivate and inspire young people by giving them new opportunities to gain the skills, knowledge and experiences to be pioneers for their generation.”

Source: The Co-operative Group, read full story

Nicki, Business Director

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