Learning and skills is a generic term for the plethora of organisations, initiatives and services involved in improving the skills of the UK workforce. The government is providing most of the financial investment but employers and trade unions are also heavily active in this area. However, it is very difficult for the uninitiated and even insiders, to keep up with the activities of all these different stakeholders. Learning and skills even has its own terminology – do you know your LSC from an SSA or even a ULR? How about the NIACE or the SSDA?The sheer complexity of learning and skills services has resulted in the establishment of another specialist niche service known as Information, Advice and Guidance, with its own acronym, IAG. Moreover, not a week goes by it seems without another government White Paper, pilot project or publication on learning and skills. Perhaps the difficulty lies in the fact that no one has yet decided who is responsible for training and educating the UK workforce.Should it be the responsibility of the state through the education system at tax payer’s expense? Or perhaps employers should bare the burden of training – after all they profit directly from the skills of their workforce? How about the workers themselves? Maybe they should take responsibility for their own professional development and employability – no one can count on a job for life any more.Learning and skills has become a high profile issue which is engaging a variety of organisations and stakeholders including trade unions, employers and Sector Skills Councils. Whilst the UK has a strong economy, productivity is trailing compared to our key competitors and poor skills is one of the reasons why. For example, over one third of adults in the UK do not have a basic school leaving qualification and five million people have no qualifications at all.The current Blair administration, and its predecessors, have grasped the skills mantel and have also identified links between skills, economic growth and equal opportunities. Good employers have always valued and invested in skills, and trade union membership has historically conferred the benefits of access to training and education.Meanwhile, Sector Skills Councils were set up by the government to promote and encourage skills acquisition across 25 industry sectors. Learning and skills is one of those rare issues where traditional protagonists share a mutual interest – after all skills are good for employees, good for industry and good for the economy.Let me now take you on a brief tour of the learning and skills landscape in order to sketch out the main players, and nail some of the more unwieldy acronyms. The trade union movement, of which UNISON, Amicus, T&G and GMB are the largest members, is headed up by the Trades Union Congress known as the TUC. Historically, trade unions have been vociferous in demanding greater access to education and training and still today membership benefits include access to subsidised, if not free, training opportunities.In 2002 the government finally passed legislation giving legal status to ULRs (or Union Learning Representatives if given their full title). The relevant passage is covered by Section 43 of the Employment Act 2002. Within two years the TUC estimated that ULRs had empowered 100,000 people to access training in their workplace in one year.Given this success, trade unions are now campaigning for the legislative right to include training in negotiations with employers, mandatory training levies and further statutory powers for ULRs. They are also seeking further influence on Sector Skills Councils, or (yet another acronym) SSCs, and support for more prescriptive learning agreements.However, whilst trade unions are effective at campaigning for improved learning resources in the workplace they have yet to really exploit the potential of learning and organising. This represents a golden opportunity for trade unions but they have been slow to realise it. In the meantime the establishment of Unionlearn, the new trade union learning academy, may help convince more senior union officials of the value of learning and skills, and learning and organising.Unionlearn is funded by the Department for Education and Skills, the European Social Fund and the TUC, and its three main priorities are to help trade unions become better learning organisations. It intends to do this by helping unions carry out a range of learning and organising activities including brokering learning opportunities for members, establishing a kite mark quality standard, researching union learning priorities and promoting learning agreements.This includes increasing the number of ULRs from 14,000 to 22,000 by 2010. Unionlearn will also take over operation of the Union Learning Fund often referred to as the ULF. This fund was established in 1998 to help unions play a greater role in promoting learning and organising in the workplace.Sector Skill Councils, or SSCs as they are also known, are independent, employer led organisations which cover a specific industry sector. Their specific aims are to cut skills gaps and shortages, improve productivity, business and public service performance, expand opportunities to boost skills and productivity, and improve learning supply through apprenticeships, higher education and National Occupation Standards – or NOS for short.These 25 SSCs form the backbone of the Skills for Business Network and are licensed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. Together they cover around 85% of the UK workforce. Industries not included in their remit are covered by the Sector Skills Development Agency. This agency, also known as the SSDA, is a non departmental body which funds, supports and monitors the work of the SSCs and collates high quality labour market intelligence.Although SSCs are employer led they have at least two seats on their Board of Directors allocated to trade union officials. Each SSC is required to draw up a Sector Skills Agreement, or SSA for short, in collaboration with other stakeholders such as government departments, the SSDA, trade associations, employer bodies, the ULF, Unionlearn, and learning organisations. This agreement sets out how the SSC will address the skills gaps and challenges posed by their particular industry.In addition to the key players mentioned previously there are vast number of other organisations linked with learning and skills. These include qualification authorities, learning delivery organisations, brokering services, economic development agencies, further and higher education services, government departments and funding agencies. It would take far too long to list all of these organisations and their relevant acronyms in this article but there are a few you should be aware of.First of all there are the Regional Skills Partnerships, or RSPs, which have a regional responsibility for improving skills; and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) which is responsible for regulating qualification standards, and also the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, or NIACE for short, which is a charity dedicated to helping adult learners. Another important organisation to be aware of is the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) which funds vocational education and training.The government has launched a number of initiatives, strategies, proposals and pilot projects all designed to increase relevant skills in the UK workforce. These include two White Papers which form the cornerstone of its national Skills Strategy. The second White Paper, entitled “Getting on in Business, Getting on at Work” was published in March 2005 and further developed a strategy for expanding the UK skills base.In February 2006 the government published a Further Education White Paper, entitled “Further Education: Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances”. This latest White Paper takes forward recommendations made by the Foster Review and has also been produced by the Department for Education and Skills. The Foster Review was an independent review into the future role of Further Education colleges and took place in November 2004.The Further Education White Paper recognises the importance of these colleges and the need to strengthen the role of the sector by focusing on employability and learner progression. It also recognised the role of trade unions and Unionlearn, included a £20 million per annum skills package for women, outlined plans for free tuition to first full level 3 qualifications for 19 to 25 year olds and proposed bringing forward the national roll out of an Adult Learning Grant. I should point out here that level 3 qualifications equate to A-Levels, NVQ 3 and Advanced Extension Awards.Further White Papers are likely to be announced when the results of the Leitch Review are published later this year. The Leitch Review was commissioned by the government to identify the UK’s optimal skills mix in 2020 in order to maximise economic growth, productivity and social justice. An interim report has already been produced but the final version will not be ready until summer 2006.There are two other important skills initiatives that should be mentioned in the course of this speech. The first is Train to Gain. This is a new service introduced by the LSC aimed at enabling businesses to find relevant training services for their workforce. It will be introduced across England in 2006 and was originally known as the National Employer Training Programme (NETP) but rebranded in early 2006. Train to Gain includes free brokered training for employees without a level 2 qualification (such as GCSEs or NVQ 2) and will trial some subsidies for level 3 and level 4 (or diploma level) qualifications.Meanwhile in March 2006 the government published its second round prospectus setting out proposals for a network of 12 National Skills Academies by 2008. The first four national academies will be established in construction, food and drink, manufacturing and financial services.Of course what is yet to be seen is how this extremely diverse array of services and organisations will operate in partnership with one another, and to what extent there will be unnecessary duplication. Hopefully, however, the alliance of traditional adversaries namely trade unions, employers and governmental organisations will produce significant results that will benefit individuals, businesses and the economy.Copyright 2006 Rowena Slope (Redkite Research)
Aside from the daily personality and motivational guides read from you horoscope, there are yet more things that your astrological sign can provide you. Your string association with the movements of each star, planet and other terrestrial bodies will bring more direction as to what, when and which path should your spiritual, emotional, social and physical needs be leading you.
Every accurate and proper interpretation of your star signs connection opens more positive and viable choices for a perfect decision making. Some of these options are for your health and fitness lifestyle where only a adept and professional astrologer can particulate accurately.
You might notice that however harder a person tries to alter his/her eating habit, there still rare chances of success as to meet the goal. Especially those who have problems with obesity, the emotional difficulty to resist their usual needs further weakens their drive to go on. These individuals common dilemma is not how will they do their fitness program but when and why. Some say that a sin from gluttony is harder to repent than adultery since eating can either be badly needed or badly wanted by a person.
Inspiration or emotional drive is proven stronger as basis for a successful fitness program. But wrong timing and faulty input of requirements lessens the quality of living as the person may omit or sacrifice some other important roles in his/her life. A person might jeopardize his love life because of unbalanced time allotted between his partner and to his fitness gym. A girl might overdone her workout and end up with her partner’s insecurity because he might not understand her fitness objectives.
All these kind of flaws that mislead a healthy and happy lifestyle to an obsessive narcissism can be avoided through health and fitness astrology. Say, from the reflected possible mood your star signs interpreted, professional astrologer would simulate the data to specify your possible trait towards a food, activity or fitness routine. They would give you the best possible outcomes from a positive and even instructive advices regarding health and fitness. Even a highly cognitive astrologer, who is apparently rare, would particulate the single effect of each food intake to an individual just from the movements and description of star signs associated with him/her.
Most of us believe expenses reduce after retirement. However, soaring inflation and rising cost of medical care can leave less money in your pocket, forcing you to cut down on other essential expenses. With inflation running at 7-8%, your expenses will double every 9-10 years. Therefore, to remain afloat, you must ensure that your retirement corpus too doubles during this period. Indeed, one of the greatest financial challenges for a financially secure life after retirement is making your savings keep pace with inflation.
Only a good retirement plan can ensure that your savings maximize your potential income at a risk level you are comfortable with.
What is a Retirement Plan?
A Retirement Plan is a financial plan that takes into account your financial goals, current financial situation and risk profile to outline an investment strategy that ensures that you have sufficient income after you hang up your boots.
A comprehensive retirement plan factors in the following:
• Your current age
• When you should retire
• Your current household expenditure
• Lifestyle desired in retirement
• Yearly rise in cost or inflation
• The retirement corpus you will need
• The retirement income you will need
• The type of investments you need to make
• Your goals e.g. children’s needs for higher education and marriage
• The tax implications of the investments
• Your housing needs
• Your life insurance and health insurance needs
Creating a Customized Retirement Plan
Since every individual has a different approach to life and priorities, an off-the-shelf plan or a standard one-size-fits-all approach cannot work to meet one’s unique needs. It is therefore important to create a customized retirement plan to your specific life goals; it does not matter if you are starting your career, planning retirement, nearing retirement or already retired.
The Indian Context
According to the recently released Principal Financial Well Being Index, Indians continue to put their family responsibilities first as Children’s education (61%), buying a house (52%)and children’s marriage (42%) are still the top 3 financial priorities. Alas, investing for your post-retirement financial requirements does not seem to be a priority for many with the result that after the house has been built and children educated and resettled after a big fat wedding, many Indian couples finds themselves financially strained than they were in their working years. Therefore, only a holistic retirement plan that takes into account your life-stage goals and family responsibilities in addition to your post-retirement needs is the way forward.
It is never too late or too early to create a plan to start saving and investing to generate an income that allows you to enjoy a lifestyle you are accustomed to even when there is no salary at the end of the month. In fact, to leverage the power of compounding, you must start saving and investing in a retirement plan as early as possible.
A professional retirement planner can help you define your dreams, develop a plan to help you realize those dreams, build for contingencies and monitor your progress along the way. It is important to look for research-based advice and trust-led services with the proficiency of professional retirement planners to make the right investment decisions.
So you are thinking of getting some extra money to make some urgent home repairs, the porch door needs replacing, along with a new hot water system. Unfortunately you do not have the money in the bank, but neither do you have a secure porch door or any constant hot water.
Have you considered personal loans? A lot of people take out personal loans for this type of repair. Car repairs and even holidays are used by people with their newly acquired finances. Most people have heard that a poor credit score is not a good thing (However even those that have a poor financial history can still get loans). But how do you make a good rating?
One of thing major pieces of advice from experts, before you apply for finance it is best to get a credit report completed from a reputable source. This will give you an idea of the chance of getting your application approved. In the United States of America there are three levels of credit rating, basically the higher it is the better it is.
An excellent rating is above 760, a good rating would be between 700 and 759 and a poor rating would be between 640 to 699. if you are at the top end, 760 and above then there is no point in making your rating any better. However with other ratings it is worth trying to improve as it will help your chances of succeeding in the application.
There does seem to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation sometimes, you need finance but have a poor score,but to improve you need a lender to give you a chance. Well, luckily there are things that you and your family if you have one, can do to improve your rating.
Having a poor rating does not mean you have to be stuck with it, starting to pay the bills on time instead of late or not at all will start to get you on the right path. Some lenders will still give applicants loans even with a low score, but the total given will be lower than usually and the percentage rate will be considerably higher. So you will pay more over the period of the finance.
Families can help too. If a member of your family has a good rating then some credit card companies can add you to that family members credit card as an authorized user, this will help with any poor credit score. Also having a family member with a good rating co-sign the loan could help you get what you need.
Finding the correct lender for your score is a good way to make sure that you are getting what you deserve, if you have a high score you deserve some of the best deals on the market. Instead of going to your bank or card company you can go online and search for a matching company. Companies like this are a good place go to make sure you achieve the best deal.
What are a matching company and what do they do? You enter your details on their online program and your information will be fed to several of their approved lenders, in turn the lenders will then return to the matching company with a list of loans that they are able to offer.
Once the offers come back it is then up to the applicant to choose one and complete all the necessary paperwork. A check will then be received within a matter of days and your new boiler and door fitted soon after.
Everyone is busy. Busy in shopping online and in the malls. Popular online portals are breaking and making new sale records! All thanks to the convenience and the availability of easy payment options and funds!
Here are few of the factors that are making online businesses a success
Credit Cards: A credit card is plastic money. It is one of the easiest form in which a person gets a personal loan.
All online portals as well as retailers in malls accept credit cards issued by various banks.
Online payment becomes very simple and safe, thanks to the one time passwords generated for such transactions.
A PIN is sufficient for shopping using a credit card at any retail store.
Personal loans for shopping: When we apply for a personal loan, we don’t have to provide the financier with the details of what we want the loan for.
Thus these days’ personal loans are being used to finance shopping.
They can also be used as wedding loans, vacation loans and educational loans.
Payment Processing: As far as payment processing is concerned, the following factors matter to both the consumer and the online retailer.
Uncomplicated manoeuvring on website: It is important for the payment process to be step-by-step and easy to understand. Most websites work on this section very carefully and thus the online shopping experience is satisfactory.
Processing Costs: Processing costs matter to the retailers. More the processing fees they have to pay to providers of payment gateways like Visa, the lesser are their margins. So to have an effective business the processing costs need to be low.
Number of payment options: Multiple payment options should be available for the customer to make payment. This makes the shopping a convenient proposition.
Time taken to process transactions: Processing time not only tests your patience but sometimes also the strength of your internet connection!
Cash on Delivery: This is also known as “collection on delivery.” This is a very popular mode of making payments for shopping in the developing world.
It enhances impulse purchases.
A credit card is not an essential possession for the buyer.
The buyer can check the quality of the product and then pay
So this festive season, do not hesitate to shop and to gift! The availability of funds for shopping is not difficult anymore. Also the convenience of online shopping has brought various retailers to our doorstep. So let us shop all the way!
An easy way of shopping is using a credit card. It forms an integral part of most people’s financial planning. When used in the right manner, it helps reduce financial liability and optimizes financial resources.
While the rise of online lending in itself makes it more convenient for people to apply for finance, is this development a good thing for those who are already struggling? There are companies out there who charge expensive annual percentage rates (APRs), leaving many people in more trouble than when they first started.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Over the last few years, online lending has earned itself a bad reputation. The internet leaves many people vulnerable to fraud, so you should always exercise caution when inputting your financial details. The best way to make sure your information remains safe is to find a secure, reliable lending platform.
There is an unfair irony attached to lending today. Those with bad credit are often led to believe they have no financial options if they have made mistakes in the past, often making their situations seem more desperate than they actually are. This can result in people making bad decisions and can lead to borrowing through unstable sources.
Meanwhile, any lenders that do accept you with bad credit will charge extortionate interest rates because of your history, making it more difficult for you to meet your monthly repayment obligations – thus worsening your situation. This is a trap that many people fall into, and it gives online installment lenders a bad name.
However, this doesn’t need to be the case. If you can find yourself a reliable lending platform, you will be connected to a secure network of trustworthy lenders who can offer sensible solutions to your borrowing needs. Many of these lenders will assess your application, even if your credit file isn’t perfect or your income is lower than average.
Instead of (or in some cases, as well as) running credit checks, these lenders will take other factors into consideration, including your income and employment circumstances, and how long you have lived at your current address. They may even ask for references they can contact who will vouch for your character personally.
Even those who receive benefits as a form of income will be able to apply, giving everyone a fair and carefully considered chance of borrowing money. In these cases, applicants won’t be accepted for higher loans than they can afford to pay back, and interest rates will be low, meaning there is a better chance of managing repayments.
If you have poor credit and need to borrow money, consider a personal installment loan, but make sure the APR is advertised between 5.99% and 35.99%. There should also be a number of options in terms of flexible repayment, offering you the chance to pay the money back anywhere between six months and six years, depending on what you can afford to pay per month.
Small, carefully considered personal loans could actually help you build a financial profile making you eligible for better future borrowing. As long as the lender is responsible, and offers reasonable interest rates, online lending platforms can actually give people with more opportunities than many other lenders in terms of improving their situation.
With this in mind, personal loans can be beneficial to those hoping to improve their credit score, but only if some caution is exercised by both parties, and you only apply to borrow an amount you can afford to pay back.
Don’t you wish personal finance were a mandatory course in college? Unfortunately, too many of us learn by mistake. When you need a personal loan and are rejected, you might be baffled as to what went wrong- and how to fix it. Here are some clues.
No credit is a situation where you have never used credit and therefore have no credit history for the bank to review. They have no way of making an educated decision on whether or not you will pay back a personal loan based on your credit history. No credit is worse than bad credit. Qualifying for and making regular payments on these types of introductory forms of credit can overcome a “no credit” score:
· Student Loans
· Secured credit card (includes a down payment amount)
· Being added to a parent’s or spouses good credit: card, car loan, etc.
Low credit takes on several forms. If you’re using more than 30% of your allowable debt, it can negatively impact your score. Too many inquiries from shopping around for loans will also hit you hard. Lapses in payment, defaults, or bankruptcies are giant red flags and can take a long time to rebuild from.
Other things that lenders may look at are whether or not you have sizeable assets should you default on the loan. They also check to see if your debts are diversified or if you are only carrying one type of debt.
Proof of income is generally required when applying for a personal loan. If you are unemployed or underemployed, it can work against you in the loan approval process. Lenders may also require a work history to see how long you have been with your current employer, and to determine if you typically have job stability. Frequent job loss or change will tell a creditor that your payments may not be reliable.
PURPOSE OF THE LOAN
Believe it or not, your application can be rejected due to your proposed purpose for the loan. Financial institutions have the right to set up the parameters surrounding their disbursements and can accept or reject your application based on what you want to use the money for.
If you’ve defaulted on debt before, your name may be put on a list of whom not to loan to,’ also known as a “Blacklist.” This will follow you around for a long time and is difficult to erase. If you do resolve the debt issues, get documents to prove the resolution.
When it comes to a personal loan, you have to first learn to use it responsibly. Because if you miss a repayment, your credit score will be impacted adversely. And remember, that a credit score is an indicator of how well you manage your personal finances. Also, it plays a defining role when you apply for any kind of loan – secured and unsecured. It is suggested to apply for a loan slightly larger than what is needed so that you will be assured to have enough money to pay all bills necessary and still have some money left over to ensure that your bank account stays current.
A credit score can be defined as a number which reflects the financial situation of a person. If the person is well-off when it comes to financial matters, then he or she is said to have a high credit score. On the other hand, if a person is the exact opposite of this, then they possess a low credit score. There are a lot of factors that are considered by financial institutions for the purpose of evaluating a person’s credit score – usually, the credit scores of people vary from 300 to about 850.
A personal loan is a type of loan that is given by digital lenders, banks and credit unions to aid you in your plans, be it starting a small business, or making a big purchase. Personal loans tend to have an interest rate(s) lower than the credit cards; however, they can also be put to use for combining several credit card debts together into one monthly lower-cost payment.
Now, your credit score is built by keeping in mind various parameters from your credit reports. These reports serve the purpose of trailing your history of utilization of the credit across the duration of seven years. These credit reports are comprised of information, including how much credit you have utilized to date, the type of credit in your possession, the age of one’s credit accounts, whether one has put in for bankruptcy or liens filed against them, actions of debt collections taken against them, one’s total open lines of credit as well as recent inquiries for hard credit.
Like any other type of credit, personal loans are very capable of affecting your credit score. This can be done through the process of applying and withdrawing a personal loan. If you are curious as to how personal loans can end up affecting your credit, then read on to find out more about the context. There are many ways in which your credit can be affected by personal loans and some of them are listed below:
The ratio of your debt-to-income and loan
Debt-to-income ratio is considered to be the measure of your amount of income that you spend on the debt repayments. In the case of lenders, the amount of income that you receive is said to be one of the major factors proving that you are able to repay your loan.
Some of the lenders have come up with their own debt-to-income ratio so that their proprietary credit scores may make use of it in the form of a credit consideration. Do not fall into the kind of mindset that possessing a high amount of a loan would hurt your credit. The most damage it can do is raise the ratio of your debt-to-income so that you won’t be able to apply for loans anymore without it getting rejected or denied.
Paying loans on time will make credit scores soar
The moment your loan is approved, you have to make sure that you settle the payments of each month on time and in full. Delay in repayment may significantly impact the state of your credit score. However, on the other hand, if you make the payments on time every month, then your credit score will soar high, leading to an overall good score. This will not only make your name to the preferred borrower’s list, but it will prove to be beneficial for you in the long run.
Since your payment history is comprised of almost 35% of your credit score, paying loans on time is essential in cases like these so that your credit score can maintain a positive status.
Variety is built into your credit type
There are about five factors that are responsible for determining your credit score. These are composed of the payment history, the length of the credit history, the utilization ratio of the credit, the credit mix and new inquiries of the credit in accordance with FICO®.
The credit mix only accounts for about 35% of your total credit score, whereas when it comes to a personal loan you can have a varying mix of the credit types. This mix of all types of credit is viewed at a high level of approval by the creditors and lenders.
Origination fee charged by loans
Most of the lenders end up charging you an origination fee. This fee cannot be avoided at any cost and is instantly taken off from the amount of the loan payment. The amount of origination fees depends upon the amount of the loan you are about to borrow. Late payments can lead to an overdraft of fees and late expenses. Therefore, make sure that you pay complete repayment for each month before the deadline.
Avoiding penalties when it comes to payments
Some of the credit lenders tend to charge an additional fee if you end up paying your part of the loan earlier than the agreed date. This is because they are looking for moderate amounts of interest on your loan. Now, seeing that you have paid off your part of the loan before time, they will miss out on that interest that they could have possibly made if you had not cleared the debt soon enough before the deadline.