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Tuesday, 30 November 2010 12:31

The big skills debateMartyn Sloman ("Strictly demoralising", 23 November) must not have read the interview in Education Guardian two weeks ago in which my colleague John Hayes set out the motivation behind our strategy for reform of further education.

Sloman's claim of a demoralised college sector is wide of the mark. Perhaps he was not present, as I was, to see the confidence, optimism and dedication so clearly on show at the Association of Colleges' annual conference.

Rising investment in apprenticeships will help a new generation to gain high-level skills while in real employment, while support for younger learners and those who need to improve basic skills will ensure employers can easily find young people ready for work. Lifelong-learning accounts will empower learners, with advisers from an all-age careers service ready to help them make decisions about their future.

The spending review necessarily had an impact on all aspects of government, but I think there is a general feeling in the sector that it could have been much worse, and that key commitments on adult learning, at both basic and higher levels, have been protected.

Dr Vince Cable

Secretary of State, Business, Innovation & Skills, London SW1

• A sharp reduction in investment in skills will further damage prospects of economic recovery and deprive the most vulnerable of the chance to develop their skills in a tough labour market. The gap between those benefiting from higher education and those who have no qualifications is stark. According to the latest data, fewer than one in 10 employees without a qualification are offered regular training, and this figure has actually deteriorated in the last decade.

Redrush via EducationGuardian.co.uk

Vice-chancellors under fireLast week, Peter Scott argued that the vice-chancellors' interest groups, such as the Russell Group, were partly to blame for higher education cuts and fees

• Thank you for this. Why there isn't more outrage at the antics of the vice-chancellors, I do not know. Students should stop protesting against politicians and start protesting against their own institutions. Why is it that changes to universities keep happening when a majority of the students and academics involved there don't think they're a good idea?

deliamirandola via EducationGuardian.co.uk

• It is true that Russell Group VCs lobbied for maximum fees, but please don't think that their opinion was shared by all their employees. It wasn't.

DavidColquhoun via EducationGuardian.co.uk

Ministry of storiesLast week Frances Booth wrote about volunteering at the Ministry of Stories, the new literacy project based on Dave Eggers's scheme in San Francisco

I have to admit my comments on a different blog on this subject a couple of days ago were sadly quite cynical and clearly wide of the mark – this is a worthy project and it seems that the first day went well. Best of luck with the venture

MelonCauli via EducationGuardian.co.uk

• Next question: when is this kind of initiative going to find its way into the mainstream eg schools?

CrazyGuy via EducationGuardian.co.uk

• ...When they've worked out a way to measure it, test it, create a curriculum for it, and generally f**k it up, and Ofsted have found a way of "assessing it" ie telling teachers they're doing it wrong. That would be my guess.

CiggyStardust via EducationGuardian.co.uk

This is a letter to the Guardian or Observer. GNM does not necessarily support the views expressed.

Courtesy to guardian.co.uk.

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