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Career education in early primary school could reduce pressure on teens

A call for primary school children as young as eight to receive career education has been met with broad national support, with claims it could alleviate pressure on teenagers during the stressful final years of high school.

As part of a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into career advice activities, the Career Education Association of Victoria (CEAV) proposed that career learning should be brought forward to Grade 3 classrooms.

While many children seem to dream of astronauts and movie stars and little else, research has shown some do start thinking more practically about their future careers as early as Grade 3.

This has raised questions around Australia’s current focus on career development during the final years of secondary school – which the CEAV suggested was “too late”.

‘Will alleviate pressure on teens’

Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA)’s Rebecca Fraser said career development should be embedded into curriculum much earlier.

career-education
Career education should start much earlier than it does now, some suggest. Photo: Getty

Career education at primary schools would not necessarily involve one-on-one discussions with a careers counsellor, as seen in high schools, but instead open a child’s mind to the breadth of job options and to link those to their own skills and interests, she said.

“Fairytales talk about stories of ‘careers’ and we read these to children from an early age – and what eight-year-old boy has not considered his career as a policeman or racing car driver?” Ms Fraser told The New Daily.

“This identifies that there is an opportunity to start having a conversation around the future world of work and broadening that to look beyond, considering the opportunity to even own the racing car team or being a mechanic to align to realistic vocational interests.”

Ms Fraser said she has met eight-year-olds who have already chosen what they want to achieve in life – and has seen them follow through. But she has also met children this age whose next great adventure is climbing the tree next door.

“Both of these are fine,” she told The New Daily.

“At the age of eight we want the kids to be kids but by embedding career development into primary school education, we are building a stronger foundation for them to make the right decision at a time that is right for them.

“Improved career development embedded into the curriculum has been evidenced to alleviate a lot of the pressure teenagers have in deciding their career path due to what is expected of them.”

‘School dropouts need this’

Suzanne Rice, a University of Melbourne associate professor in education policy, said the argument for career education at primary schools was not about rushing kids.

“Those in the highest risk of dropping out are usually disengaged in school by Year 7 and sometimes that’s because they can’t connect what they’re learning to the real world,” she told The New Daily.

“We need a stronger focus in primary schools to broaden their knowledge about career possibilities.

“There are more jobs in the health industry than simply a doctor, nurse or cleaner at a hospital – there’s also physios, medical imaging people and many others.

“It’s also about helping children build greater awareness of themselves and what they enjoy.”

Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino commissioned the review into careers education late last year to examine how this curriculum could be embedded earlier on during a child’s schooling.

“There is a great variance in the quality of careers education in our schools, from excellent engagement with students to careers advice that is no different to when I was a student in the 1980s – we can do better,” he said.

“It is expected to be finalised in coming months.”

Article source: https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/work/2018/02/20/child-career-advice/

Shiza Shahid shares her journey, advice with students

Before the journey of life comes to an end, some want to be remembered for the memoir they wrote, the Grammy they won or the legacy they left. 

But Shiza Shahid (pronounced Shi-za Shah-id), wants to be remembered as a kind person, who did something good in the world. 

Shahid grew up in Islamabad, Pakistan, where she began volunteering anywhere she could get her foot in the door. 

The then 13-year-old grew up as a social justice activist, who spent a majority of her time volunteering at a women’s prison and in relief camps. It was there Shahid began a life of constant curiosity — something she encouraged students to pursue during her Tuesday night talk in Pruis Hall. 

“What I learned in these situations and these interactions, I would never had come to understand had I not set out to understand the world beyond the life I was born into,” Shahid said. “But these interactions in my youth were the beginning of the life of constant curiosity, openness and empathy and how I tried to interact with the world today.”

After spending her teenage years volunteering, Shahid applied to and attended Stanford University in Stanford, California. Despite being in a different country, she often still thought of Pakistan. 

And while she spent every night with her phone on maximum volume, waiting for a phone call from home with bad news, it was the female education ban in 2009 that brought Shahid back to Pakistan for the summer. 

“I remember sitting in my dorm room thinking, ‘Here I am at Stanford surrounded by all of this access and influence and girls 300 miles from where I grew up being told they cannot go to school.’ I figured there had to be something I could do,” Shahid said. 

So, she did something. 

That summer, Shahid went back to Pakistan and started a secret camp for 26 girls from the Swat Valley. 

At the camp was 12-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who later became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. 

“But what I could have never imagined back then is that one of the little girls I created the summer camp for would go on six years later to become the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner and one of the most powerful voices for change in the entire world. That I could not have predicted,” she said. 

But it wasn’t until 2012 that the pair would reunite. 

In October 2012, 15-year-old Yousafzai was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban due to her speaking up for female education rights. 

When Shahid received the news, she immediately left work to be with Malala and her father. It was there Shahid decided to quit her job and help create the Malala Fund — a fund that strives to create a world where every girl can learn and lead without fear, according to its website. 

“I knew that it was now or never,” Shahid said. “So, I quit my job at 22 and stayed with Malala and I have to say it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I believe that in our lives, in our careers, in our relationships, in our values there are certain moments where we have to decide who we are. In those moments, I urge you to listen to your heart and to be bold.” 

Shahid spent the next two-and-half years helping Yousafzai and her father tell her story and the story of the 130 million girls who are denied education, but after she knew Malala was safe and the fund was growing, she left to pursue her next journey: Now Ventures. 

“I knew we had shattered stereotypes about what power looks like, what courage looks like and what girls can achieve if they are just given an education,” Shahid said. “I always knew with Malala safe and healthy and the Malala fund growing in impact, that it was time for me once again to get out of my comfort zone.”

Now, Shahid’s focus is helping mission-driven start-ups like Lucy — a company that wants to make a workplace for working parents.

While the organization might have changed, the mission for Shahid is still the same as it was when she was 13:  show up with passion and start helping. 

Contact Mary Freda with comments at mafreda@bsu.edu or on Twitter at @Mary_Freda1.

Article source: http://www.ballstatedaily.com/article/2018/02/features-eil-speaker-shiza-shahid

Careers advice in schools must not curb imagination

This is not inconsistent with the timeless, inherent wisdom of that IBM chief; a range of things is crucial to a rounded and valuable education. These include literacy, numeracy, imagination, resilience and socialisation.

There is a risk that an unduly premature focus on career can be counterproductive. Dr Charlotte Keating, a Melbourne-based psychologist and neuroscientist, warned the inquiry: “Kids spend enough time in their VCE years worrying about career, and the reality is, until you get out there and experience what life has to offer, you won’t really know if it’s for you.”

Getting the modern balance right is particularly important and difficult because of the rapid pace of change. The smartphone, one of the most revolutionary inventions ever, is only a decade old. Young people have a life expectancy of decades longer than those currently formulating laws and policies, and are likely to have several careers. There is a valid argument for including a measure of career counselling in secondary education – and perhaps primary.

But it needs to be of high quality and should not be too prescriptive. Our education system is currently too slanted towards exam results; we need more discussion about the real world.

But, above all, we must emphasise the importance of a broad education that opens young minds to the exploding possibilities created by technology and creativity. The future does not just happen. It first needs to be imagined. Advice to students: check, mate, the inspiring panoply of options life can offer.

Article source: https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/careers-advice-in-schools-must-not-curb-imagination-20180220-h0wdwv.html

News focus: legal advice gateway to nowhere

A fortnight ago the Ministry of Justice announced that it was cancelling a procurement to provide certain services through its legal advice telephone helpline because it had received ‘insufficient compliant’ bids. Have the legal aid cuts driven so many solicitors out of the market that there was not enough interest? We may never know because the ministry will not reveal why the tenders were non-compliant, saying the reasons are ‘commercially sensitive’.

Monidipa Fouzder

Monidipa Fouzder

The procurement was to provide discrimination and education advice services from 1 September. Presumably the MoJ will extend existing providers’ contracts. In the meantime, a suggestion: why not use the aborted tender as an excuse to scrap the advice gateway, about which practitioners and MPs have expressed concerns, and overhaul the way publicly funded advice on debt, discrimination and education – which must go through the telephone gateway – is provided?

Before 1 April 2013, clients seeking publicly funded advice on debt, education and discrimination could choose to contact a telephone helpline funded by legal aid or directly approach a specialist legal aid provider. Since April 2013, when the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 came into force, people have had to contact the gateway, which was intended to be a single access point in those areas of law.

To promote the service, the government’s guide for practitioners includes a quote from 27-year-old Rachel: ‘The lady on the phone was really nice. She explained the whole process of what they do, and took a history of our issue, and next thing we know we heard from the solicitors.’

Rachel does not say if she met her solicitors or if she received advice on the phone. If she received face-to-face advice, she was one of a lucky few. According to government figures, the helpline handled more than 111,000 debt cases since 2013; only 456 people were referred for face-to-face advice. On discrimination, the helpline dealt with over 18,000 cases; 16 people were referred for face-to-face advice. In education, the helpline handled over 11,000 cases; 15 people were referred for face-to-face advice.

Of course, some people may have been advised over the phone and hung up feeling more reassured than when they initially called. However, many want to see their solicitor in person. Education specialist Beverley Watkins, managing partner of Watkins Solicitors in Bristol and Bath, was told that some people’s requests for face-to-face advice were refused when they went through the gateway.

Beverley Watkins

Beverley Watkins

Clients in special educational needs cases often require local advice and information, Watkins says: ‘We primarily work in the south-west. We know the specialist schemes and facilities available for children with severe autism, for example. It’s not just the law but knowing about the local provision. That’s hard to get through the gateway.’

The government’s own report on the gateway, published in 2014, states that people with complex cases ‘were particularly disappointed at not being able to speak to someone in person and expressed a preference for at least one face-to-face meeting’. The report states that ‘the frustration of not being able to see someone was compounded by having to send sensitive material over remote channels such as post or email, perceived as being less secure than delivering the documents to the specialist in person’.

The Bach Commission, set up by former justice minister Lord Bach (Willy Bach), heard several concerns during its two-year investigation, which culminated in The Right to Justice report. Tables published by the late Sir Henry Brooke, a retired lord justice of appeal and vice-chair of the commission, in his analysis of the evidence, highlight the extent to which take-up of the service has diminished year by year.

Public Law Project, a charity that works to improve access to public law remedies, published a report in 2015 showing that the number of special educational needs and discrimination matters through the service was significantly lower than in figures provided in Legal Services Commission tenders for gateway services. Referral rates for face-to-face advice were also substantially lower than those previously estimated by the Legal Aid Agency.

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Justice

Source: Goldberg

In 2015, the Commons justice select committee said a failure by the ministry to provide adequate public information on the gateway was a major reason for underuse. MPs were particularly concerned that information on the gateway was difficult to find online.

The Law Society, in its LASPO: Four Years On report, said the gateway had created a ‘barrier to face-to-face advice for the many clients for whom telephone advice provision is not appropriate’. This includes people who struggle to talk on the phone, who may have poor English, or have physical or mental health conditions.

Solicitor Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) told the Bach Commission that in the disability sphere, every client she represents (usually via the official solicitor as their litigation friend) has different levels of need and ability to communicate. She said: ‘What is absolutely crucial in mental capacity law is that the odd nuances in a person’s presentation are picked up by the legal advisers. This is why, while a telephone advice system will work very well as one of the tools for different areas of law or initial advice, it does not work for this particular client group where face-to-face advice is needed, because it’s also us assessing the client.’

The Coram Children’s Legal Centre, which holds a specialist help education law contract with the LAA, told the commission that it was concerned that there was a high risk of callers being diverted away from specialist advice because they were unable to fully explain the scope and nature of their problem.

Many practitioners, including Watkins and the Public Law Project, want the gateway to be scrapped. However, Watkins says: ‘If you went back to the old system tomorrow, you might struggle to find providers coming back.’ Pay rates were low and many providers dropped out of providing advice, she recalls. With legal help cases, which can run to thousands of pounds, firms are not paid in advance for disbursements.

All signs point to the need for the government to rethink the gateway. With a cancelled tender for two of the areas of law, and a LASPO review under way, now would be the perfect time.

 

Article source: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news-focus/news-focus-legal-advice-gateway-to-nowhere/5064854.article

Restructuring the Education Department

A Department of Education reorganization plan whose broad themes were shared with employees last week would collapse multiple units with higher ed functions into one office whose leader would answer directly to the secretary.

The plan also calls for eliminating the office of the under secretary, which has played a key role in shaping higher education policy during the previous two presidential administrations.

Those moves would be part of a larger shake-up of the department that officials say is intended to make lines of decision making more clear, improve policy coordination and reduce the total number of political appointees. It would also be Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s clearest imprint yet on the agency after spending much of the last year reversing Obama administration initiatives.

“You can view this as a vision document,” a department spokeswoman, Liz Hill, said via email. “It’s the beginning of a conversation with staff, the public and Congress about the secretary’s vision to make the department more efficient and responsive on behalf of students, parents, educators and taxpayers.”

The overhaul plan came about after President Trump last year issued an executive order directing the Office of Management and Budget to propose a reorganization of the federal government to “eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs.”

To comply with the order, the Department of Education last May set up an internal committee to take advice on potential changes and outline how to overhaul the agency. A separate committee within the department has, meanwhile, met to identify regulations to propose for elimination.

Some of the changes being proposed by the department would require congressional approval. Others, such as the elimination of the office of the under secretary, the department could accomplish on its own.

Perhaps just as critically as that step, the plan calls for rolling the Office of Postsecondary Education and the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education into one Office of Postsecondary Education and Lifelong Learning. The assistant secretary heading that office would answer directly to the secretary. That would mean going from three top political appointees down to one. 

Jared Bass, senior counsel for education and strategy at New America and a former senior policy adviser at the department, noted that the White House budget released last week cited administrative capacity as its rationale for proposals to eliminate several programs within the department. Yet at the same time the department is seeking to cut political staff positions, he said.

“That seems counterintuitive to me,” he said. “Political and career staffers by design work together.” 

But two former high-ranking officials at the department said that taking the step to consolidate postsecondary offices may serve the department well.

Vickie L. Schray, former acting deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs under President George W. Bush, said that consolidating the two postsecondary offices would send a clear message about the need to recognize and value multiple pathways to student success — and would be consistent with the administration’s stated priorities.

“Bringing these two offices together could create some new efficiencies in the awarding and administration of grants and better align efforts to increase access to postsecondary education and improve programs and services,” she said.

David Bergeron, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who previously served as acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education under President Obama, said it was hard to judge the proposal without seeing the full plan. But he said combining the Office of Postsecondary Education and the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education wasn’t necessarily a bad idea.

“What OPE has long lacked is a strong relationship with state government actors, which OCTAE has long had. Using that as a lever to strengthen relationship with states would be helpful,” he said. “Therefore, eliminating the assistant secretary for CTE isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It would, however, eliminate a voice specific to career and technical education and potentially for states in policy decisions.”

Article source: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/02/19/proposed-education-department-reorganization-would-merge-higher-ed-related-offices

Career advice should begin at age eight, Victorian inquiry told

Extending the guidance to primary and early secondary school students would “help to lift aspirations and extend the range of career possibilities, particularly for students at risk of disengagement.”

It’s also believed that providing careers education to young children helps combat stereotypes about “boys” and “girls” jobs.

But Dr Charlotte Keating, a Melbourne-based psychologist and neuroscientist, warned that a premature discussion of careers could exacerbate anxiety.

“Kids spend enough time in their VCE years worrying about career and the reality is, until you get out there and experience what life has to offer, you won’t really know if it’s for you,” she said.

Grade 3 student Hannah Linton wants to be a beautician when she grows up, while her older sister Lauren, who is in grade 4, wants to be a teacher.

Article source: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/career-advice-should-begin-at-age-eight-victorian-inquiry-told-20180219-p4z0vg.html

Julie Jason: Fiduciary rule affects advice on rollovers




If you are considering rolling over your 401(k) plan into an individual retirement account, you are on uncertain ground due to the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. Essentially, the rule addresses who (and how) someone can advise you on the rollover. The advice-giver needs to comply with the rule’s many twists and turns. Plus, some provisions of the rule itself are in flux.

This is new, and it changes how a financial adviser will deal with you. And in some cases, if you are doing business with a financial institution that currently houses both your taxable accounts and your IRAs, the IRAs may be moved to a special call center that handles retirement accounts.






The rule was first proposed a few years ago (April 20, 2015), made effective in June 7, 2016, with a delayed applicability date until June 9, 2017, and certain provisions of related exemptions postponed until July 1, 2019. Also, the whole package is still under presidentially mandated review.

Since certain provisions related to the rule have been delayed and others adopted, there is uncertainty in the marketplace as to how financial institutions should communicate with someone seeking advice (even if that advice-seeker is not a client of the institution).

As a result, under the rules that are currently in force, if you go to a financial institution seeking advice on whether to do a rollover of your 401(k), you may not get the kind of help you are seeking, explained attorney Kristina M. Zanotti of the Washington, D.C., office of KL Gates LLP. Zanotti is co-author (along with KL attorneys Jennifer R. Gonzalez, Richard F. Kerr, R. Charles Miller, C. Dirk Peterson, Eden L. Rohrer, Robert L. Sichel and George Zornada) of “Past, Present and Future of the DOL Fiduciary Rule.” For lawyers, benefits experts and human resources professionals, this February 2018 report is a must read — it is a comprehensive review of the current state of the fiduciary rule.

As Zanotti explained, some institutions have decided to avoid fiduciary status by limiting discussions to “education.” Others will give covered investment advice, and by doing so fall under the definition of “fiduciary,” with all of the weight of that decision, including addressing prohibited transactions under ERISA (the federal law that governs 401(k)s) and complying with exemptions, such as the Best Interest Contract Exemption (“BIC” Exemption) or the Class Exemption for Principal Transactions in Certain Assets Between Investment Advice Fiduciaries and Employee Benefit Plans and IRAs (“Principal Transactions Exemption”).

In a study commissioned by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Deloitte reported that “access to brokerage advice services has been eliminated or limited by many financial institutions as part of their approach for complying with the Rule, and that retirement assets have shifted to fee-based or advisory programs because of those limitations. Fee-based accounts typically offer a higher level of service than brokerage, and generally have higher fees to compensate for the additional services.”

Notably, 53 percent of these firms are limiting access to advised brokerage for retirement accounts, impacting 10.2 million accounts and $900 billion in assets under management, according to Deloitte. Ninety-five percent of firms reduced access to products typically offered to retirement savers, including mutual funds, annuities, fixed income, private offerings and more, impacting 22.8 million accounts. Sixty-seven percent of firms have reduced the number of mutual funds offered to retirement investors.

“The DOL Fiduciary Rule has had significant impact across the retirement advice industry and was widely reported as an extremely disruptive regulation by study participants,” according to the report. SIFMA is a trade association representing the U.S. securities industry. SIFMA engaged Deloitte to study 21 SIFMA member firms whose businesses include providing individual investors with financial advice and related services.

There’s more: As reported by Deloitte, investors may be faced with “a bifurcated experience for retirement investors who hold both retirement and non-retirement assets within the same financial institution.” That’s a challenge that many investors won’t want to face, especially if they are approaching retirement and in need of rollover advice and more. Will those investors choose to move to firms whose business models accept fiduciary responsibility under both DOL and SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) rules? Only time will tell.

Let me know if you’d like to discuss this topic further by emailing me at readers@juliejason.com. Also I’m considering doing some surveys about different topics that I cover in this column — let me know if you would like to participate from time to time.

To read the Deloitte report, go to https://www.sifma.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Deloitte-White-Paper-on-the-DOL-Fiduciary-Rule-August-2017.pdf.

To read the KL report, go to http://www.klgateshub.com/details/?pub=Past-Present-and-Future-of-the-DOL-Fiduciary-Rule-02-08-2018.

Julie Jason, JD, LLM, a personal money manager (Jackson, Grant of Stamford, Conn.) and award-winning author, welcomes your questions/comments (readers@juliejason.com). To hear Julie speak, visit www.juliejason.com/events.

Article source: https://www.ctpost.com/business/article/Julie-Jason-Fiduciary-rule-affects-advice-on-12619568.php

Tuition fees: Theresa May challenges university costs

Theresa MayImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Theresa May’s review will consider the cost of tuition fees and repaying student debt

The prime minister is to call for better value for students in England, admitting they face “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world”.

Theresa May will announce an independent review of fees and student finance on Monday.

She will also argue for an end to “outdated attitudes” that favour university over technical education.

Labour says it would abolish fees and bring back maintenance grants.

Mrs May, announcing the year-long review of student finance and university funding, will warn that the current system has failed to deliver sufficient competition on price – with almost all courses being charged at the maximum £9,250 per year.

For many students, the prime minister will say, “the level of fees charged do not relate to the cost or quality of the course”.

There are “serious concerns” about the cost of university, among parents and grandparents as well as students, Mrs May will say.

There is currently a temporary freeze on fees at £9,250, but that is now likely to be extended for at least another year while the review is conducted.

‘Value for money’

The review will consider ways of reducing costs such as cutting interest rates on loans – currently at 6.1% – and reintroducing maintenance grants for disadvantaged students, as well as examining the level of fees.

But there have been no suggestions so far of scrapping fees or replacing a system in which graduates are expected to pay back for the benefits of gaining a degree.

Mrs May will say the review needs to make sure poorer students can have an “equal chance”.

Students from poorer families are offered bigger loans for living costs than better-off students, who are expected to be partly supported by their parents.

But it means that the poorer students graduate with bigger debts.

Mrs May says this means the funding system “leaves students from the lowest-income households bearing the highest levels of debt, with many graduates left questioning the return they get for their investment”.

Restoring maintenance grants for poorer students, scrapped last year, would reduce their level of borrowing.

The government will promise that the independent review will consider “the whole system of student funding”, looking at whether there is “value for money” for students and taxpayers and how fees and repayments cover the cost of courses.

The review will look more broadly than university fees and will consider support for vocational training and apprenticeships in “post-18 education”.

Mrs May will say there should be an end to “false boundaries” and perceptions of different status between vocational and academic study.


Analysis

By BBC education editor Branwen Jeffreys:

This review is already facing criticism – for pushing the issue of how to pay for degree-level study into the long grass.

The government says graduates will be expected to contribute somehow, but otherwise has given little indication of what it expects from the review.

It’s likely to propose solutions just in time to allow the Conservatives to formulate a policy ahead of the next election.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds says he wants the different routes to getting a degree to be explained more effectively to prospective students – including shorter degrees, or degree-level apprenticeships.

He thinks ministers should consider extra support for university courses that are expensive to deliver.


There should be better careers advice to help young people make better-informed choices about a wider range of jobs and qualifications, Mrs May will say.

‘Scrapping fees’

“For those young people who do not go on to academic study, the routes into further technical and vocational training today are hard to navigate,” the prime minister will warn.

“The standards across the sector are too varied and the funding available to support them is patchy.”

Labour’s shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, has called for education services, in further and higher education, to be free at the point of delivery.

“It’s time the Tories just accepted their tuition fee system is unsustainable, scrapped fees entirely and brought back maintenance grants and the Education Maintenance Allowance, as Labour has promised to do,” said Ms Rayner.

Image copyright
PA

Image caption

With higher fees and interest rates, students will graduate with an average debt of £50,000

Ahead of Mrs May’s speech, the Treasury select committee, chaired by former education secretary Nicky Morgan, raised concerns about the high level of interest rates.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies says students in England face more than £5,000 in interest charges before they have even left university – contributing to average graduate debts of over £50,000.

Former Conservative and Labour education ministers Ms Greening, Lord Willetts, Lord Adonis and Charles Clarke have all raised concerns about the level of interest charges.

‘Variety’ of fee levels

Education Secretary Damian Hinds, speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, suggested there should be a greater “variety” in levels of fees.

But there have been warnings against different levels of fees for sciences or humanities and arts, or for different types of university.

Lord Willetts said higher fees for courses with the highest graduate earnings would become a “reverse pupil premium”, giving even more money to the most advantaged courses and institutions.

Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, backed calls for more flexible approaches – such as two-year degree courses – but warned that setting different fee levels would be a “bad idea”.

Dame Janet Beer, president of Universities UK, said the current system needed to be “better understood and feel fairer to students”.

The priorities should be support for disadvantaged students and reversing the collapse in numbers of part-time and mature students, said the university group leader.

Article source: http://www.bbc.com/news/education-43106736

Gateway to nowhere

A fortnight ago the Ministry of Justice announced that it was cancelling a procurement to provide certain services through its legal advice telephone helpline because it had received ‘insufficient compliant’ bids. Have the legal aid cuts driven so many solicitors out of the market that there was not enough interest? We may never know because the ministry will not reveal why the tenders were non-compliant, saying the reasons are ‘commercially sensitive’.

Monidipa Fouzder

Monidipa Fouzder

The procurement was to provide discrimination and education advice services from 1 September. Presumably the MoJ will extend existing providers’ contracts. In the meantime, a suggestion: why not use the aborted tender as an excuse to scrap the advice gateway, about which practitioners and MPs have expressed concerns, and overhaul the way publicly funded advice on debt, discrimination and education – which must go through the telephone gateway – is provided?

Before 1 April 2013, clients seeking publicly funded advice on debt, education and discrimination could choose to contact a telephone helpline funded by legal aid or directly approach a specialist legal aid provider. Since April 2013, when the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 came into force, people have had to contact the gateway, which was intended to be a single access point in those areas of law.

To promote the service, the government’s guide for practitioners includes a quote from 27-year-old Rachel: ‘The lady on the phone was really nice. She explained the whole process of what they do, and took a history of our issue, and next thing we know we heard from the solicitors.’

Rachel does not say if she met her solicitors or if she received advice on the phone. If she received face-to-face advice, she was one of a lucky few. According to government figures, the helpline handled more than 111,000 debt cases since 2013; only 456 people were referred for face-to-face advice. On discrimination, the helpline dealt with over 18,000 cases; 16 people were referred for face-to-face advice. In education, the helpline handled over 11,000 cases; 15 people were referred for face-to-face advice.

Of course, some people may have been advised over the phone and hung up feeling more reassured than when they initially called. However, many want to see their solicitor in person. Education specialist Beverley Watkins, managing partner of Watkins Solicitors in Bristol and Bath, was told that some people’s requests for face-to-face advice were refused when they went through the gateway.

Beverley Watkins

Beverley Watkins

Clients in special educational needs cases often require local advice and information, Watkins says: ‘We primarily work in the south-west. We know the specialist schemes and facilities available for children with severe autism, for example. It’s not just the law but knowing about the local provision. That’s hard to get through the gateway.’

The government’s own report on the gateway, published in 2014, states that people with complex cases ‘were particularly disappointed at not being able to speak to someone in person and expressed a preference for at least one face-to-face meeting’. The report states that ‘the frustration of not being able to see someone was compounded by having to send sensitive material over remote channels such as post or email, perceived as being less secure than delivering the documents to the specialist in person’.

The Bach Commission, set up by former justice minister Lord Bach (Willy Bach), heard several concerns during its two-year investigation, which culminated in The Right to Justice report. Tables published by the late Sir Henry Brooke, a retired lord justice of appeal and vice-chair of the commission, in his analysis of the evidence, highlight the extent to which take-up of the service has diminished year by year.

Public Law Project, a charity that works to improve access to public law remedies, published a report in 2015 showing that the number of special educational needs and discrimination matters through the service was significantly lower than in figures provided in Legal Services Commission tenders for gateway services. Referral rates for face-to-face advice were also substantially lower than those previously estimated by the Legal Aid Agency.

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Justice

Source: Goldberg

In 2015, the Commons justice select committee said a failure by the ministry to provide adequate public information on the gateway was a major reason for underuse. MPs were particularly concerned that information on the gateway was difficult to find online.

The Law Society, in its LASPO: Four Years On report, said the gateway had created a ‘barrier to face-to-face advice for the many clients for whom telephone advice provision is not appropriate’. This includes people who struggle to talk on the phone, who may have poor English, or have physical or mental health conditions.

Solicitor Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) told the Bach Commission that in the disability sphere, every client she represents (usually via the official solicitor as their litigation friend) has different levels of need and ability to communicate. She said: ‘What is absolutely crucial in mental capacity law is that the odd nuances in a person’s presentation are picked up by the legal advisers. This is why, while a telephone advice system will work very well as one of the tools for different areas of law or initial advice, it does not work for this particular client group where face-to-face advice is needed, because it’s also us assessing the client.’

The Coram Children’s Legal Centre, which holds a specialist help education law contract with the LAA, told the commission that it was concerned that there was a high risk of callers being diverted away from specialist advice because they were unable to fully explain the scope and nature of their problem.

Many practitioners, including Watkins and the Public Law Project, want the gateway to be scrapped. However, Watkins says: ‘If you went back to the old system tomorrow, you might struggle to find providers coming back.’ Pay rates were low and many providers dropped out of providing advice, she recalls. With legal help cases, which can run to thousands of pounds, firms are not paid in advance for disbursements.

All signs point to the need for the government to rethink the gateway. With a cancelled tender for two of the areas of law, and a LASPO review under way, now would be the perfect time.

 

Article source: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news-focus/gateway-to-nowhere/5064854.article

5 timeless words of career advice from former presidents

Before becoming the leaders of the free world, nearly every president had to work his way up the corporate ladder, learning plenty of lessons along the way.

Among the 45 who held the title of Mr. President, their career paths varied greatly, offering a vast amount of diversity in skill sets and talents. While our inaugural leader George Washington worked as a surveyor, Ronald Reagan was an actor, William Howard Taft was a lawyer and Barack Obama worked as an education consultant among other gigs.

Arguably, all would credit President of the United States as their toughest, most demanding role, since it provided them with helpful wisdom. Luckily for you, they’ve shared the tough lessons from the oval office, giving you a bit of studying material for your long weekend ahead:

‘Think before you speak’

The first president of the United States, George Washington wrote a guidebook about public discourse and protocol, appropriately titled ‘Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.’ In here, he gives many points and perspectives on how to maturely and effectively handle yourself in corporate or professional settings.

In addition to recommending to keep your face to the back when you’re speaking and using positive body language, he also recommended thorough thought and consideration before speaking. It’s a rule of thumb likely ingrained into your psyche thanks to your parents, but one that holds true in all boardroom meetings or even digitally, in e-mail exchanges. He wrote, “Think before you speak, pronounce not imperfectly, nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and distinctly.”

‘Associate yourself with people smarter than you’

As an Army general, statesman and the 34th president of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower had much experience both listening to elders and leading youngsters. Regardless of his rank though, he quickly learned the importance of the company you keep, as it shapes not only your reputation but your ability progress. It’s not that you shouldn’t befriend the funniest person in the office since they will fill the sometimes mundane hours of a workday, but making a pointed choice to spend quality time with those you respect will feed more inspiration into your career. Eisenhower explained in his book, “Always try to associate yourself with and learn as much as you can from those who know more than you do, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.”

If you’re intimidated by scheduling a meeting with your CMO or your top executive because they may stump you with questions, Eisenhower has a solution for that, too. When you can’t quite rack your brain for the smartest retort, be confident in admitting defeat, since it illustrates your integrity and character. As he wrote, “Remember, ‘I don’t know,’ is one of the smartest things you can say, and once you do, you can find the experts you need.”

‘Take time to deliberate. Then go’

Especially when your industry requires a fast-paced, quick-witted and on-the-go attitude, you might feel the pressure of hastily decision-making. When the time and client turnaround does allow though, soldier, statesman and the seventh president emphasizes the importance of careful consideration. Because the smartest solutions usually come from weighing options, identifying risks and estimating outcomes – regardless if you’re leading a war or creating an end-of-year strategy – it’s the ‘pause’ that can elevate your career. Jackson was quoted in the book, ‘Supplement to the Courant’ also providing the advice for what to do once you’ve arrived at your choice: “Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”

After all, why wouldn’t you go full-force ahead in your presentation, the contract, or your proposal if you’ve actually taken the break you needed to gain confidence?

‘Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing’

Ask your first boss at your internship, or your brother’s friend who you find so utterly impressive. Chat with your mom, your dad, your sorority sister. Regardless of whose advice you seek, everyone will have a different view on what it means to be successful. As one of the most legendary and visionary presidents, our 16th leader Abraham Lincoln was ripe with profound insight, making his speeches timelessly quotable. But one that should stick out in your mind as you map out your own pioneering path is to start from within. In a kind-hearted, pointed letter to a pal, Lincoln signed off with the following, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.”

In other words: no matter what nuggets of wisdom you hear or find, maintaining a sense of self-determination will take you further than any other tactic or strategy.

‘Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence’

When you were first rejected for a role that you wholeheartedly thought you had in the bag, the sting surely isn’t pleasant. Though disappointment is part of the job searching and career-building tango, your ability to push past your shortcoming or downfalls is what will set you apart from others eying the same opportunity. As one of the most infamous words from a president that you’ll often hear during college graduation speeches, lawyer and 30th U.S. president Calvin Coolidge speaks to the deep importance of stamina, regardless of what rat race you’re jogging.

It read, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb … Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” The odd truth of this popular quote is the original context is still being researched, even though it appeared on the cover of the program for his memorial service in 1933. Regardless if he said it in full or it was fragmented between a variety of speeches, the value remains the same: working tirelessly without giving up will extend your career more than anything else.

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Article source: https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/5-timeless-words-of-career-advice-from-former-presidents