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News Report Page 9 of 10
Publication Date:- 2018-07-04
News reports located on this page = 3.

Further Education failing to deliver for ½ of employers

THE Further Education sector urgently requires a coherent strategy and clear vision for the future, or it will fail to provide the skilled workers desperately needed by UK employers; according to The 5% Club, an employer led body comprising of over 275 organisations.

A survey of its members, who range from FTSE100 companies to SME's and the public sector, indicated nearly ½ are unable to access training which meets their needs. And if current limitations in the Further Education (FE) sector are not addressed, employers will not be able to increase the number of apprentices they take on; leaving the UK with a massive skills gap in global markets.

Of The 5% Club's members, including many who work in key sectors requiring specialist skill sets and / or based in rural areas, 47% say they are unable to find training providers for the specific skills they require. The challenge this causes employers is clear, when 91% of members also believe that the Further Education sector is critical to future skills and training.

With further consolidation expected in FE and the pending introduction of T-levels, The 5% Club's research reveals that, in spite of the pivotal role Further Education needs to play in delivering a skilled workforce, only 42% of respondents are optimistic about the outlook for the sector.

The 5% Club concludes that the Further Education sector must become more entrepreneurial, reaching out and building new relationships with employers to secure additional funding revenue streams if it is to meet the needs of 21st Century employers.

Lady Cobham CBE, Director General of The 5% Club, said:- "Our members clearly indicate that Further Education is core to our economic future. But delivering the skills they are demanding requires vital improvement in the sector. This will require new thinking, both from the Government and the providers, if we are to ensure the high quality training relevant to today's employers and job seekers and tomorrow's prosperity."

To read the paper in full, please click here.

Liverpool Says 'NO2' Air Pollution

FEWER cars, more cycling and walking and cleaner fuel… These are just some of the big ideas currently being investigated by Liverpool City Council and its partners in a bid to help us all breathe easier. As part of an ongoing campaign to improve the health of City dwellers, the Council is actively considering a range of measures to cut the amount of potentially harmful Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) being released into the atmosphere.

The biggest culprit for NO2 emissions in Liverpool is road transport; namely:- cars, buses, freight and public vehicles. In September 2017 it was revealed that Liverpool was not on the government's list of areas with the worst emissions issues. Despite this, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to improving air quality by setting up a multi-agency task force.

A report to Liverpool City Council's Cabinet states:- "The City Council's strategic approach focuses on meaningful long term actions to improve air quality to protect the most vulnerable citizens living or working close to the sources of air pollution."

Stretches of 6 of the City's roads have been identified as having NO2 emissions which exceed the accepted levels. The Council is looking at solutions such as changing the pattern of traffic lights to improve vehicle flow, to achieve the accepted levels well in advance of the 2020 target date.

Other elements of the clean air plan include:-

Halting the retro fitting of less environmentally friendly older engines in Hackney Cabs and working with the trade to move to new electric vehicles.

► Plans for more than 100 extra Electric Vehicle Charging Points.

► Proposals to introduce fines for drivers who keep their engines running while they wait for someone; also known as vehicle idling.

► A campaign to encourage more people to switch to greener alternatives like walking or cycling.

In terms of direct action being taken by the City Council, the cabinet report states:- "The City Council is proposing to radically change its own fleet to make the vehicles which service the City Centre diesel free from 2019 and the wider City by 2024."

Bin lorries will be replaced with cleaner Compressed Natural Gas powered ones and the Council is phasing out diesel powered vehicles from its fleet.

Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Steve Munby, said:- "Improving the air quality in Liverpool is 1 of our key priorities. There is a clear link between pollution and ill health, so it is vital that we do all we can to ensure the wellbeing of future generations. This report outlines a range of measures the Council and its partners are considering but everyone has a part to play in reducing air pollution. Whether it is turning your engine off when you are waiting for someone or leaving the car at home and walking or taking the bus, every little bit helps. Pollution is everyone's problem, so we all need to be part of the solution."

The Council's Cabinet will consider the Air Quality Improvement Measures report at its meeting that took place, on Friday, 6  April 2018.

Construction boss banned for moving ₤1m out of business to avoid paying debts

A boss of an Aintree based construction firm is banned from running companies after he moved more than ₤1m out of his failing business to avoid paying debts. Paul Winskill (54) started Premier Asphalt Limited in 1985 and provided construction services for commercial buildings and roadworks across the country. But the company ran into trading difficulties and after more than 30 years, Premier Asphalt entered into administration, on 19 February 2016.

The administrators appointed to close the company reported to the Insolvency Service that the directors of Premier Asphalt had not fully co-operated with them and failed to explain why the company had paid out more than ₤1m in the 2 weeks prior to their appointment.

The Insolvency Service's investigation found that prior to entering into administration, a winding up petition was served on Premier Asphalt, on 3 February 2016, as a trade creditor was owed more than ₤300,000. But to avoid paying his debts, Winskill immediately transferred ₤1,044,794 to 3 other businesses, which were later discovered to be operated by Winskill although he wasn't the appointed director.

On 8 February 2018, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Winskill, after he admitted transferring more than ₤1 million to the detriment of the company's general body of creditors. His ban is effective from 1 March 2018 and lasts for 8 years.

Robert Clarke, Head of Insolvent Investigations North at the Insolvency Service, said:- "Following extensive enquiries, we discovered not only had Winksill transferred more than a million pounds out of the company to avoid paying his creditors what they were owed, but the money was moved to other companies which we found that he was also running. Directors who put their own personal financial interests above those of creditors damage confidence in doing business and are corrosive to the health of the local economy. This ban should serve as a warning to other directors tempted to help themselves 1st, you have a duty to your creditors and if you neglect this duty you could be investigated by the Insolvency Service and lose the privilege of limited liability trading."

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