The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


Leave a comment

Time for reform of the apprenticeship levy?

By Maire Williams and Jens Van den Brande

The role of apprenticeships in improving the lives of young learners is high on the government’s agenda and in the wider policy world. Given this, the apprenticeship levy has received much attention and criticism since its inception. In fact, the Department for Education (DfE) is already having to handle calls for its reform. A year on from the levy being introduced, we delved into the latest statistics on apprenticeship starts from the DfE to see what kind of impact the policy is having.  Continue reading


1 Comment

My six top tips for a role in Digital Communications

By Alex Blakey

As part of National Careers Week 2018, Web Communications Executive Alexander Blakey offers his advice on how to start a career in the digital industry. Continue reading


Leave a comment

“There’s no doubting that careers advice has improved since my day but there’s so much more that can and must be done”

By Carole Willis

As National Careers Week gets underway, NFER’s Chief Executive, Carole Willis, talks about the careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) she received at school and gives her opinion on how things have changed. Her verdict? Things are better but still far from good enough. Continue reading


Leave a comment

My journey so far as an NFER apprentice

By Amirah Khan

For National Apprenticeship Week, Amirah Khan shares her experience on what it’s like being an NFER Business Administration Apprentice.  Continue reading


Leave a comment

Vocational studies and T-Levels: what will be different this time around?

By Claudia Sumner

As the issue of skills rises up the educational agenda and the number of 18-year-olds going to university falls, the Government is driving through one of the biggest shake-ups in the English qualifications system for years. The introduction of new ‘T levels’ is designed to help tackle Britain’s productivity challenge and to raise the profile of technical education. They will also replace the plethora of vocational qualifications currently on offer in each technical area with just one recognisable qualification type.  Continue reading


Leave a comment

Apprenticeships In England – are they working?

By Zoe des Clayes

Currently the United Kingdom’s (UK) gross domestic product per hour worked is at least 20 per cent behind that of the USA, France and Germany, according to official figures from the Office of National Statistics. The green paper, Building our Industrial Strategy (January 2017) argues that the productivity gap between the UK and these other countries could be partially closed by developing the technical and higher level vocational skills of the UK workforce. This green paper argues that high-quality apprenticeships are a core way to improve these skills across the UK. The strategy also highlights that improving these skills is especially important because of the increasing mechanisation of low skill jobs and the UK’s departure from the European Union.  Continue reading


Leave a comment

Overall NEET rates continue to fall but should we be concerned about the rise in 16 to 18 year olds who are NET as well as NEET?

By Tami McCrone

Amidst the excitement of GCSE results and commentary on the new grading system for English and maths yesterday, you may be forgiven for missing the fact that the latest quarterly statistical first release (SFR) from the Department for Education on young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) was also published.
Continue reading


Leave a comment

The future of technical and professional education: joining up the dots

By Tami McCrone

The Learning and Skills Research Network (LSRN) workshop held last week on the future of technical and professional education was as current, relevant and thought-provoking as ever. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Could it be that disengagement leads to poor skills?

By Tami McCrone

Last Thursday I attended two events in London: a Demos seminar reporting on ways to re-engage disengaged young people pre-16 years old, and an OECD seminar ‘Building skills for all – a review of England’ which offered policy insights from the survey of adult skills.
Continue reading