Latest research on training in recession

In 2008 the UK entered the deepest recession since at least the Second World War and arguably since the 1930s. Output has fallen quicker and has reached far lower levels than in more recent recessions. This has resulted in unemployment rising (albeit more slowly than expected), total working hours declining, part-time working rising and earnings stagnating. However, relatively little is known about how workplace training and learning activity have fared. In the absence of this evidence, policy-makers and commentators have frequently referred to previous research on the effect of the 1990-1991 recession on training carried out by Professor Alan Felstead (Cardiff University) and Professor Francis Green (LLAKES, Institute of Education, University of London).

Against this backdrop, a research team has been awarded an ESRC grant to analyze, compare and explain the impact of the current recession on training in the UK and, in particular, its impact on the long-term ambition of making the UK a world leader in skills, employment and productivity by 2020. The project is funded under the ESRC/UKCES Strategic Partnership and is affiliated to the ESRC’s Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES), Institute of Education, University of London. The project adopts a mixed method approach which includes: reviewing existing published academic and policy evidence; comparing the results from Labour Force Surveys carried out over the last twenty years; and carrying out telephone interviews with employers towards the end of the recession and during the recovery. The project team comprises Alan Felstead, Nick Jewson (both of Cardiff University) and Francis Green (LLAKES, Institute of Education, University of London). The 30-month project starts in February 2010 and ends in July 2012.

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Interpreting students celebrate their success at Wales’ first Public Service Interpreting examination centre

Interpreting students celebrate their success at Wales’ first Public Service Interpreting examination centre

Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning celebrated the success of their first cohort of Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) students at their annual Award Ceremony on Friday 16th March.

Interpreting students celebrate their success at Wales’ first Public Service Interpreting examination centre

Interpreting students celebrate their success at Wales’ first Public Service Interpreting examination centre

Some of the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting graduates, with CI Tony Wilcox and Zora Jackman (back row, far right) Elsa Cowie (front row far right).

Elsa Cowie, the Centre’s Academic Lead for Public Service Interpreting, said: “I am delighted to see our DPSI students enjoying the ceremony and being rewarded for all their hard work.”

The Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning became an examination Centre for the DPSI in Wales last year.

Elsa Cowie explained: “There was a real demand for the DPSI as it is a national qualification which many public bodies prefer interpreters to achieve before assigning work. In Wales, there are currently only 26 people on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) for which the DPSI is the main requirement, so the demand is there.”

Around 100 students completed the first year’s courses. Not only has the programme received high praise from students, but professionals working in the industry have noticed the positive impact it has made already.

Chief Inspector Tony Wilcox, Executive Manager of Wales Interpretation and Translation Service (WITS) and a special guest at the Award Ceremony, said: “Between 2005 and 2009 there was little change in the number of qualified interpreters living in Wales who had passed police security checks and could work for the police. In Nov 2009 there were 22 such qualified interpreters in Wales, they covered 15 languages between them. Now there are 41 qualified interpreters living in Wales who have passed police security checks and can work for the police, they cover 20 languages between them.

“The most recent increase is entirely due to the courses run at Cardiff University.
Last year’s increase also reflects people who had attended courses run by Cardiff University and at WITS offices. Please pass on our appreciation to all those involved in the hard work with the students, and also our congratulations to those receiving awards tonight,” he added.

In addition to the DPSI students, over fifty students received awards from Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning in a variety of subject areas including: Humanities, Computer Studies, Science and Environment, Business Studies, Social Studies and languages. Louise Ackland who received a Foundation Certificate in Social Studies at the centre commented “The evening was a great chance to celebrate my achievement with my family, fellow students and tutors, studying at the centre has been a one of the best things I have done. The tutors and centre staff are so supportive they have made my going into higher education as a ‘mature’ student that little bit less scary. I would recommend studying at the centre to everyone even if it is just for the experience.”

For more information on the part-time courses offered at the Centre visit www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn.

Deputy Prime Minister praises homework club

Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg took time before the Liberal Democrats conference on Saturday 3rd March 2012 to visit the community homework club in Adamsdown Resource Centre.

Nick Clegg said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic to see the enthusiasm and the joy of the children and, above all, this thirst to learn. It’s genuinely inspiring. It’s not very often that you ask a group of children on a Saturday morning at a homework club whether they like maths then a whole bunch of arms shoot up. It’s a real tribute to everybody that has been working on this project.”

Nick was particularly impressed with the Cardiff University student tutors on the project. He said: “I saw the student volunteers in action in classroom games and role playing with the children. That was really impressive because these are not necessarily fully trained up educationalists, but they were motivating the children, laughing with the children and getting them excited about learning.”

The homework club was established two years ago by Adamsdown Communities First and the Adamsdown African Association. From the very beginning of the club Cardiff University students have been encouraging and supporting the children with their homework and exam preparation and have been organising other learning activities.

It aims to raise attainment and achievement with students in inner city schools and colleges, in particular children from families who have little or no history of going to university. Student tutors particularly provide support in Maths and English.

Louise Gray, Widening Access Manager at the Centre for Lifelong Learning said: “The homework club has grown to include a diverse range of local children varying from 7 to 18, all receiving weekly help from Cardiff University students throughout the year.”

Sue West, Adamsdown Communities First Co-ordinator said: “The club has been an amazing success, pupils have reported that since joining the club they enjoy difficult subjects more (such as Maths and Science), are achieving better grades and have increased aspirations for the future.”

“The partnership with the University has been instrumental to the success of the club and has now developed to allow us to increase our activities to support the parents of the children through learning as well”.