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 The national minimum wage should be extended to all apprentices as more than half are currently exempt, the TUC said in a submission to the Low Pay Commission. Young apprentices under the age of 19 and older

apprentices in the first year of their course are currently not entitled to the minimum wage.

 The Institute for Learning and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills have produced a film highlighting the role teachers and trainers play in boosting the UK economy’s productivity and skills. The film is available at:

 The Association of Colleges’ annual conference takes place at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham from 17 to 20 November. Go to:

 The Learning and Skills Council and the Learning and Skills Improvement Service have jointly published guidance for FE colleges and providers, to help them to self-assess equality and diversity. The guidance can be found at: www.excellence

 Further education minister Kevin Brennan has appointed David Cragg as interim Chief Executive of Skills Funding. He will lead as staff begin shadow working in advance of the formal creation of the new Skills Funding Agency in April 2010.

 Skills Count: Money Matters – Developing the skills of those involved in delivering and receiving financial training, a NIACE conference, takes place on 2 December 2009, in Preston. Go to: campaigns-events.

6 ADULTS LEARNING NOVEMBER 2009 British dads reluctant to request

flexible working FAMILIES AND LEARNING

Many British fathers are working long hours, struggling to balance work and family, and fear that requesting flexible working will damage their careers, according to a report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The report, Working Better: Fathers, family

and work, finds that British men want to take a more active role in caring for their children. But four in 10 fathers say they spend too little time with their children. Forty-five per cent of men fail to take two weeks’ paternity leave after the birth of their child with the most common reason being because they can’t afford to. Two in five men fear that asking for flexible working arrangements would result in their commitment to their job being questioned and would negatively affect their chances of a promotion. The report also points to an opportunity for employers to gain a competitive advantage in recruitment, as two in three fathers consider the availability of flexible working to be important when looking for a new job.

One way of balancing work and family commitments, the report argues, is to expand paternity and parental leave schemes. The Commission’s proposals include fathers having: two weeks’ paternity leave at the birth of their child at 90 per cent pay; four months of dedicated ‘parental leave’ with at least eight weeks of leave being at 90 per cent pay; another four months’ parental leave – that can be taken by either mother or father – eight weeks of which

is taken at 90 per cent pay. Andrea Murray, Acting Group Director for Strategy at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: ‘It is clear that today’s families require a modern approach to balancing work and childcare commitments. Fathers are telling us they are not spending enough time with their families and want to take a more active role in shaping the lives of their children. ‘Two-thirds of fathers see flexible working as

an important benefit when looking for a new job. This highlights an opportunity for British businesses to use flexible working as an incentive for attracting and retaining the most talented of employees. Some companies which have adopted forward-thinking policies towards families are reporting increased productivity, reduction in staff turnover, reduced training costs and an ability to respond better to customer requirements.’

More than 3,000 museums, libraries and archives have shown their commitment to informal adult learning by signing the Learning Revolution pledge.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council has achieved its target of encouraging 3,000 individual museums, libraries and archives to sign the pledge, as promised in the Learning Revolution White Paper, six months ahead of its March 2010 deadline.

By signing the pledge, museums, libraries and archives signal their commitment to do all they can to spark a thriving culture of lifelong learning within their local communities.

The new National Skills Academy for Social Care has been launched by skills minister Kevin Brennan and care services minister Phil Hope. Backed by over £6 million of public funding for its first three years, the academy will train some of the one million highly skilled care workers who, it is estimated, will be needed to care for our ageing population, equipping the workforce with ‘the skills they need for the jobs of the future’.

The academy will also aim to create

partnerships with employers and raise the status of careers in social care. Kevin Brennan said: ‘Now, more than ever, we need to develop training that empowers a new generation to realise their ambitions, and to

deliver the very best patient care. And we need employers to be involved at every step. ‘A new National Skills Academy for Social Care will help build a world-beating workforce that will improve standards and help shape rewarding careers: not just among new recruits but within the existing workforce.’

The academy would play a key role in implementing the Adult Social Care Workforce Strategy, Phil Hope added.

‘I want to boost the status of social care so that the sector can attract and retain the best and brightest candidates,’ he said.

It is the first public-sector National Skills Academy and the thirteenth to join the national network.

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