RCA Flag
RCA Flag
Connecting Africa’s Skilled Professionals
RCA Flag

ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.

Library of Articles


News from the UK and around the world

90% of Working Mothers Consider Themselves Good Role models

The majority of mothers feel no guilt about leaving their children to go out to work and believe their working life has improved since having children, according to a new survey. More than 90% of full-time working mothers say they are a good role model for their children and more than half say they are happy to combine parenthood with a career, according to research by Mumsnet.com, the UK's biggest online parenting network. The survey of more than 1,500 working mothers also found women believe they work more efficiently after having children. They add that they do not feel discriminated against, with the majority believing their employment and promotion opportunities were just as bright as before they had children. According to the survey, more than 80% of working mothers work to provide income without which, they say, their family could not survive. More than three-quarters of respondents felt they worked more efficiently at work than before they had children. Almost 60% felt their colleagues did not resent them for taking time off for children's events or emergencies. However, more than 70% of working mothers said they had no time for themselves and almost 90% said they spent little time alone with their partner. Most women think that working is good for them and their families. 'The overwhelming sensation for most working mothers is more likely to be exhaustion than guilt,' said Justine Roberts, co-founder of Mumsnet. 'It's more a question of them being stretched to their absolute limit because they're still being left to do most of the heavy lifting on the home front. 'The culture that needs to change now is that being played out in most domestic spheres,' she said. 'Employers might be more aware of treating working mothers fairly, but back at home it's still the women who are coming home after doing a full-time job and taking responsibility for the substantive side of bringing up their child by arranging playdates, organising birthday parties and supervising homework.'

Clinton Global Initiative Announces Economic Opportunity for Adolescent Girls in Liberia

Former President Bill Clinton has announced the Adolescent Girls Initiative, an innovative public-private partnership between the Clinton Global Initiative, World Bank, the country of Liberia and the Nike Foundation. This significant Commitment and collaboration, launched at the World Bank in October, aims to increase economic opportunities for adolescent girls as part of the effort to reconstruct Liberia after 14 years of war. The program targets girls specifically because of the girl effect – the ability of adolescent girls in developing countries to bring unprecedented economic and social change to their families, communities and countries. For example, research has shown that girls and women will reinvest 90% of their income back into their families, as compared to 35-40% for males. Because girls are central to the intergenerational transfer of wealth the collaboration intends to focus on programs and services designed specifically for them. The Adolescent Girls Initiative will identify employment needs in Liberia, and provide relevant skills training to adolescent girls, matched to paying jobs. The training offered to girls aged between 16 and 24 will focus on technical skills, as well as the integration of life-skills training to address some of the crucial barriers to the development of adolescent girls' economic independence. Employment in high-growth and high-need sectors, such as agriculture, entrepreneurship, emerging industries, urban services, infrastructure, public works and health care, is a major focus. Initially designed to reach 1,500 adolescent girls and young women, the partners aim to see the work brought to scale in Liberia and replicated in other developing countries. The Liberia investment is the first step in an initiative to see high-leverage investments in adolescent girls replicated in other countries with additional donor governments, foundations and private-sector partners.

Swiss Re and Oxfam America Launch Joint Risk Management Initiative for Farmers in Tigray, Ethiopia

Swiss Re and Oxfam America have announced collaboration aimed at helping communities most vulnerable to climate variability and change. The project focuses on an innovative pilot project to introduce weather insurance for a staple cereal crop in the village of Adi Ha, Tigray Regional State, Ethiopia. Drought-related risks are a primary concern throughout Ethiopia where 85% of the population is dependent on smallholder, rain-fed agriculture. Adi Ha is a drought-prone community that has expressed strong interest in incorporating insurance into its risk management strategy. The pilot will adopt a holistic approach to risk management, examining the suitability of weather insurance and risk reduction measures such as seasonal forecasting and improved agricultural practices. All efforts will be undertaken in close collaboration with the local farming community with the overall objective of alleviating poverty. The efforts will be funded by Swiss Re and Oxfam America, with primary technical support being provided by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University. Swiss Re has pioneered weather risk transfer instruments in developing countries, starting in India in 2004 with a program reaching over 350,000 smallholder farmers. In 2007, Swiss Re introduced the Climate Adaptation Development Programme (CADP). The goal of the CADP partnership is to develop and implement weather risk transfer solutions in non-OECD countries.

Female Workers to Dominate the Workplace by 2033

Latest research by Microsoft reveals that the next 25 years will see a shift towards more female-oriented skills in the workplace like collaboration, flexibility and creativity. Coupled with the increase in mobile technologies, more workers will determine their own work schedules.

UK Businesses determined to survive despite Economic Turmoil

Despite 12 months of economic turmoil, the latest UK Enterprise Survey Report shows that UK companies are determined to survive, and remain optimistic about the future. The survey, released by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), paints a detailed picture of how UK businesses of all sizes, in all regions and all sectors – as well as their counterparts across the globe – have felt the impact of the more than a year-long credit crunch before the last few weeks of extreme economic turbulence in the international financial services sector. It shows that whilst nearly two-thirds (65%) of UK businesses confirm the credit crunch has had a negative effect on their organisation, 83% say that business growth is still one of their main objectives. Their growth plans are, in fact, quite similar to those before the credit crunch hit (average annual growth target this year is 12.4% amongst businesses planning to grow compared with 13.4% last year). Micro and small businesses lead the growth in the UK economy, and the number of micro businesses planning growth of over 6% per year is even higher this year than in 2007. Medium and small sized businesses have slightly less ambitious growth plans, however, as do start-ups. Whilst the survey shows that the credit crunch has made it harder for businesses to plan (72%) as well as creating increased short (64%) and long-term (53%) borrowing costs, there are positive outcomes to the economic turbulence. Just over half of UK businesses (51%) see some benefit in weakened competitors and nearly one-third (32%) say it has increased their opportunities for business acquisitions.

Corporate Diversity in the US Boardroom

According to University of Michigan professor Scott E. Page, when people in Congress, a corporate boardroom, or virtually anywhere else are faced with solving a problem or making a prediction, a diverse group is more likely to yield a superior outcome. Using mathematical models similar to those used to predict the movements of financial markets and voting patterns, Page demonstrates how difference beats out homogeneity. Corporate America continues to struggle with the topic of race. The vast majority of the nation's publicly traded companies continue to be led by a rather homogenous group of graying white men. At the country's 100 largest corporations, African American's occupy only 9% of the board slots, yet they represent nearly 13% of the U.S. population and nearly 12% of the labor force. Black board representation is about the same as it was two years ago and might even be trending slightly downward, according to officials at The Executive Leadership Council, a nonprofit organization of black executives devoted to broadening black leadership. Women and all minorities represented just 14.8% of the top 500 company board seats in 2007, essentially the same percentage as in 2005, according to researcher Catalyst Inc. Many argue that boards miss opportunities by not taking advantage of a black board member's understanding of the advantages that diversity offers, including new suppliers, underutilized financial and legal services, and a reservoir of untapped talent.

London Universities Feature in World's Top 10

London universities have risen in world rankings of higher education institutions this year, despite Britain's slide in the league. The English capital has two universities among the world's top 10: Imperial College and University College London, according to the rankings compiled by the Times Higher Education magazine.

30% of UK Girls Want to Be Model or Actress

One in three teenage girls wants to grow up to be a model or a movie star. If they can't be Kate Moss, they'd like to be an actress according to a poll of 13 to 18 year olds. The youngsters were asked to pick three options from a list of jobs for a careers survey. Lawyer, journalist, doctor and hairdresser also figured high on the list. But only 14% wanted to be a scientist, just 2% more than those who ticked housewife. And just 4% fancied being an engineer. The survey of 506 girls was conducted for Noise – New Outlooks in Science and Engineering, a national campaign to raise awareness of science among young people. But the findings reveal that girls find the subject geeky, untrendy and boring. They rarely read about it in the magazines they buy. And a fifth said it ‘did not sound glamorous' and was more suitable for boys. Around a third said they were put off science careers because they did not know enough about them.

More UK Women at Work than ever, but half are Part-time

A record number of women are in work in the UK, but half are in part-time jobs, official figures reveal. There are now approximately 13.6 million posts filled by women, with a similar amount held by men. However, one in two women's jobs are part-time, compared with one in six for men. And men still boast a higher employment rate of 79% compared with 70% for women. The report from the Office of National Statistics is the latest update on the Focus on Gender study, which started in the 1970's. The findings, which update the study for the first time in more than three years, confirm that having children impacts greatly on women's employment choices. 38% of women with dependent children worked part-time, compared with only 4% of men with dependent children.

Funding Fills In Gaps for Trainee Dentists

Dental training services in both England and Scotland have received a multi-million funding boost. The Department of Health has pledged £11 million towards upgrading IT systems at dental hospitals across England, whilst the new £21 million Aberdeen Dental School has been officially opened. Up to £11 million funding is being made available for ten dental trusts in England to fund new IT systems that will support the training of dental students. The funding will train students to use the clinical computer programmes that they will work with once they are qualified, such as patient administration systems software, clinical dental systems, and resource management. The ten trusts set to share the funding include: King's College Hospital NHS Trust; South Birmingham Primary Care Trust; and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Dental training in Scotland is also set for a boost following the official opening of the £21 million University of Aberdeen Dental School. Funded by the Scottish Government and NHS Grampian, the state-of-the-art complex is set to train 20 fully-qualified dentists per year. The school contains facilities for radiography, restorative dentistry, consultant orthodontics, dental laboratories, student laboratories and office accommodation.

MicroPlace Launches Women's Investment to Commemorate World Poverty

Microplace.com, an online brokerage specializing in socially responsible investments that address poverty, has announced a new female-focused microfinance investment opportunity. The Women's Empowerment investment, directing loans largely towards female borrowers, was launched to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, on October 17, a United Nations' sanctioned day committed to presenting and promoting activities centred on the eradication of poverty and destitution. Over 1.2 billion of the world's working poor subsist on less than $1 a day, and 60 percent of them are women. About 84 percent of all microfinance borrowers are women, says the organization, and women have historically shown to be more likely to use their profits to reinvest in family and household. They also tend to take fewer risks with their business and are more careful to repay their loans. The new Women's Empowerment opportunity is comprised of investments on MicroPlace.com that are specifically focused on women and have a borrower base of at least 70 percent women. The Women's Empowerment opportunity offers a 3 percent return. It is widely estimated that women make up the majority of the world's poor, and seven out of 10 of the world's hungry are women and girls.4 Yet when women are afforded the opportunity to work and contribute to the economy, they have tremendous impact. The Economist estimates that over the past decade, women's work has contributed more to global growth than China.

UK unveils ID cards for Foreigners

Compulsory identity cards for foreign nationals will kick start the National Identity Scheme, with the first applicants now having to apply for cards. It will cost £30. Within three years all foreign nationals applying for leave to enter or remain in the UK will be required to have a card, with around 90 per cent of foreign nationals in Britain covered by the scheme by 2014/15. The new credit-card sized document will show the holder's photograph, name, date of birth, nationality and immigration status. A secure electronic chip will also hold their biometric details, including fingerprints, and a digital facial image. The UK Border Agency plans to start issuing the cards to categories of immigrants believed to want to abuse the country's immigration system, including students and people seeking leave to remain on the basis of marriage. The introduction of the first card supports the Government's tough new Australian-style Points Based System for managed migration. Businesses found employing illegal workers face fines of up to £10,000 per person. The introduction of cards for foreign nationals will be followed by the first ID cards for British citizens, targeting workers in sensitive roles and locations like airports from 2009. Then from 2010 ID cards will be available to young people who want them and from 2011/12 cards will be available to the general population. The Government believes that the introduction of ID cards will provide a convenient and secure means to protect identity by locking it to one person using their fingerprints.

Shortage Occupation lists for UK & Scotland published

The UK Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), has published the new recommended lists of occupations for which there is a shortage of skilled workers in the UK and Scotland. Shortage occupation lists will be used in Tier 2 of the new Points Based System which relates to immigration of skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Under Tier 2, as well having as a certificate of sponsorship from a sponsored employer and satisfying English language and maintenance requirements, migrants have to satisfy points criteria based on their expected contribution to the UK economy. Under the shortage occupation route, employers who are licensed sponsors can bring in migrant workers from outside the EEA to fill vacancies in those occupations. It might be difficult for employers whose jobs are not in this list to bring foreign workers in the UK in the future. MAC's report contains two recommended shortage occupation lists, one for the UK and one just for Scotland. These consist of skilled occupations and job titles that the Committee has assessed as being both skilled and in shortage and where it has concluded that it is sensible to fill these shortages, at least in the short term, through immigration. The full recommended UK list includes: consultants and senior nurses in particular healthcare specialisms; some engineering occupations, including civil and chemical engineers; quantity surveyors and project managers for property development and construction; secondary school teachers in the subjects of maths and science; skilled chefs; skilled senior care workers; ship and hovercraft officers; and some animal care occupations, including veterinary surgeons. This strict list means 30 per cent fewer jobs are available to migrants via the shortage occupation route. The occupations on the recommended list account for approximately 700,000 employees.

Netherlands renews support for IOM's temporary return of qualified Migrants' project

The Dutch Government has granted IOM The Hague new financial support for the Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals (TRQN) project. The successful TRQN project, which ran as a pilot for the past two years, will have a three-year duration and will last until June 2011. The target countries of TRQN II include Sierra Leone, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Bosnia Herzegovina. TRQN is a response to the Dutch policy on Migration & Development which shows an increased need for an integrated and coherent approach. Engaging Diasporas for capacity building in countries of origin is a key component of the M&D policy. The TRQN II project contributes to the development and reconstruction of a number of selected countries by facilitating the temporary return of qualified nationals residing in the Netherlands. IOM's TRQN project makes the required skills available by creating possibilities for qualified nationals in the Netherlands to fulfill temporary assignments. The project's focus is on capacity building in sectors and areas identified by the target countries. IOM in the Netherlands is the coordinating mission and will closely cooperate with the IOM field offices and with government stakeholders in the target countries.

Making A CHANGE Can Reap Rewards

Young people who have made a positive impact on their local communities are urged to enter a UK-wide competition. Now in its second year, the annual CHANGEit Awards look to recognise the inspiring young campaigners who come up with innovative ways to change society for the better and can offer winners a £750 cash prize. Run by leadership development group Common Purpose in partnership with Deutsche Bank, the awards aim to acknowledge the 11-18 year-olds who are a force for good. The CHANGEit awards highlight and remind people of the valuable role that young people have in our society. The contest is open to bids in three categories: Performance Award - for young people who have taken action on issues they care about and taken part in campaigns to create positive change in their community. Innovation Award – a helping hand for young people to get their campaigning ideas off the ground. Photo Award - for young people who have captured images of "campaigning in action" that have been started or helped by other young people. Overall winners in the Performance and Innovation categories will each receive £750, with a number of finalists also scooping a £250 consolation prize. Winners in the Photo Award section will receive a £250 prize and have their photographs exhibited at a number of CHANGEit events. Applications are made online, and all entries must be endorsed by an adult who is not a family member of any of the applicants, for example, a youth leader or teacher. The deadline for entering is 12 January 2009. The prizes will be announced in May. For more information about the competition and to enter online, visit the CHANGEit website

Women and Minorities Make Gains in US Boardrooms but Lag in the Executive Suite

A survey, tracking diversity initiatives at the 636 US companies that make up the Calvert Social Index, reveals that 83% of leading companies have at least one woman or minority on their boards, but only 38% have a woman or minority among their five highest paid executives. That disconnect is one of the many important findings highlighted in "Examining the Cracks in the Ceiling: A Survey of Corporate Diversity Practices in the Calvert Social Index(R)." The survey shows significant progress and continuing challenges for women and minorities in corporate America. The organization points out that although board diversity trends are encouraging, future board members are often selected from top management, a group which is still overwhelmingly white and male. The survey revealed that almost all companies target diversity but few have met the strictest standards. Only nine companies within the survey showed no public commitment to diversity, but only 3% demonstrated diversity excellence. To manage diversity, companies have to be able to measure it. Still, only 7% of companies surveyed provide the detailed demographic data required for full EEO-1 disclosure, making it difficult to assess progress for women and minority employees. The report also showed that performance varies by sector. On average, companies in the technology sector performed the best, closely followed by companies in the consumer cyclical sector. Companies in the energy sector lagged. The survey measured progress in 10 critical areas including EEO policy, internal diversity initiatives, external diversity initiatives, scope of diversity initiatives, family-friendly benefits, EEO-1 disclosure, highest paid executives, board diversity, director selection criteria and overall corporate commitment. Calvert is a diversified investment management firm and a known leader in Sustainable and Responsible Investing (SRI).

IFC and Bank of Scotland Host Summit to Promote Access to Finance

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Bank of Scotland, part of the HBOS Group, hosted a global summit to discuss innovative ways to increase access to finance for women entrepreneurs. The 8th Summit of Global Banking Alliance for Women, held in London in October, was an opportunity for member banks operating in developed and emerging markets to share experiences and lessons learned in accessing the women's market profitably As Secretariat for the Global Banking Alliance for Women since 2005, IFC has been promoting the alliance in emerging markets to better support women entrepreneurs in developing economies. This year, the summit welcomed an increased number of participants from emerging markets. The event presented discussions around four key topics: integrating women entrepreneurs in the bank's strategy, educating women clients to help them achieve their business goals, identifying opportunities for the women's market, and the future direction of the alliance. Since 2005, the overall membership of the Global Banking Alliance has grown from four to 18, five of which are from emerging markets, including Egypt, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Global Banking Alliance for Women is a consortium of financial institutions that have successfully leveraged the women's market for profit. GBA members collaborate on identifying and sharing global best practices in the delivery of financial services to women. Its aim is to create a global community where financial institutions can come together and share best practices for the growth of women's economic empowerment worldwide.

Campbell Ranked 2nd on List of Top 50 Companies

In a recent survey of U.S. consumers conducted by the Reputation Institute and the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, Campbell Soup Company placed second behind Google on the CSRI 50, a list of the most socially responsible companies in the U.S. Reputation Institute has been measuring corporate reputations rigorously since 1999. The ranking was created using data principally collected for Reputation Institute's 2008 Global Pulse Study. In creating the CSRI, the researchers used a subset of survey results that focused on more than 200 companies with a dominant presence in the United States and believed to have a reasonably high recognition factor with the general public. The data used focused on the public's perception about a company's corporate citizenship, governance and workplace practices. Long active in the communities where it operates, Campbell recently outlined plans to contribute $10 million to Camden's neighborhood revitalization efforts, job training initiatives and projects designed to benefit youth, such as after-school and summer programs in its hometown, Camden, N.J. Campbell recently published its 2008 corporate social responsibility report, entitled "Nourishing People's Lives," which describes the company's strategies, policies, programs and initiatives to bolster its commitment to corporate social responsibility, including environmental sustainability.

Survey of US Nonprofit Employers Shows Half Find Encore Workers Highly Appealing

Are non-profit employers interested in hiring employees who have finished their midlife careers? Between 5.3 and 8.4 million Americans have already launched encore careers, jobs that combine personal meaning, social impact, and continued income. Of those workers ages 44-70 not already in encore careers, half are interested in them, specifically jobs in education, health care and the nonprofit sector. What makes nonprofits more eager - or less - to give encore workers a try? A national survey by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures finds that half of nonprofit employers actually see encore workers as highly appealing, with an additional 39 percent finding them moderately appealing. In addition, the survey finds that nonprofits with experience hiring late-career or recently retired workers are the most positive about hiring more. Tapping Encore Talent: A MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Survey of Nonprofit Employers is based on a nationwide, telephone survey of 427 nonprofit employers in the fields of social services, health care/health services, education/youth development (not including schools), the environment, community agencies, crisis intervention agencies, and other causes. Recent reports show that the nonprofit sector is growing faster than business or government and facing talent shortages. According to the Urban Institute's Nonprofit Almanac 2008, there are at least 1.4 million nonprofits in the U.S., accounting for 10 percent of U.S. employment. Visit www.Encore.org for stories of people currently in encore careers.

Interest in Innovative Tools for Poverty Alleviation Grows

Light Years IP, a non-profit organization specializing in export business strategies with intellectual property (IP) elements for developing countries, is seeing unprecedented interest levels in using IP tool such as trademarks, licensing, copyrights, patents and branding, as a way to increase the export income of some of the world's poorest communities. As a result, Light Years IP is stepping up its public outreach to provide more information on the options available. This concept is at odds with a long-standing perception of IP as being about enforcement and control of assets by multinational corporations to the detriment of African's wellbeing. An introduction to IP concepts and how IP strategies can alleviate poverty using real examples of goods from 14 sub-Saharan African countries with IP potential was released in June 2008 by Light Years IP. It can be downloaded from www.lightyearsip.net/scopingstudy. Light Years IP, a Washington DC non- profit organization that is alleviating poverty for millions by increasing export income and improving income security by assisting low-income export producers to improve their negotiating position through using far-reaching IP-based business strategies.

Global Unemployment could Increase by 20 million, says UN

The number of unemployed people around the world could reach 210 million by the end of next year, according to the head of a UN agency. Juan Somavia, director-general of the International Labour Office, said that the automotive, construction, finance, housing, service and tourism sectors were expected to be hit the hardest. The estimates are based on expected global growth figures from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF's October World Economic Outlook predicted global growth of 3.2 per cent for 2009, compared with 4.6 per cent for 2008 and 5.6 per cent for 2006. Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed that UK unemployment has reached 1.79 million, the biggest increase for 17 years.

Gap between Rich and Poor in UK ‘Narrows'

The gap between rich and poor has decreased since 2000 according to an international survey produced by the OECD. Describing the decline in inequality as "remarkable" the report says that the UK still has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the developed world. The report, which covers the period up to 2005, found the wealth gap widened in the UK- as it did in most developed countries- between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s. In the UK, the gap between higher and lower incomes widened by 15 per cent but since 2000, measures of poverty and income inequality have fallen, narrowing the wage gap. Ark Pearson, who wrote the report, said that the reduction in the UK wage gap was the largest fall in all developed countries. The main reasons behind fewer people living in poverty include higher employment, particularly among the low-skilled and mothers- and the redistribution of wealth. However he warned that the recession could halt the progress.

Number of Home-based Businesses on the Rise

A new study claims that the credit crunch has spurred thousands of people to launch a business from their spare room. The Home Business Report, compiled by BT and Enterprise Nation, a website helping people working from home, found that the number of home-based businesses rose by 16 per cent over the last year to account for 53 per cent of the 4.7m small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. The greatest concentration is in London and the South East.

Jobs in the City Become Hard to Find

The number of job vacancies in the City of London fell by more than 40% in September compared with the same month a year ago, according to Morgan McKinley, the financial recruitment specialists. The decline coincided with a 42% rise in the number of financial services workers looking for a job in September following "the recent collapse of several major financial institutions". The gulf between the jobs available and those looking for work has begun to affect City salaries, which on average were three per cent lower at £49,893 compared to a year ago. Another report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research predicts that employment in financial services will fall by 28,000 this year with a further 34,000 to go in 2009. The worst hit will be corporate finance, which is set to lose half of its 15,000 employees because of the slump in mergers and acquisitions. Derivatives will also be hard hit, with 46 per cent of employees losing their jobs. The City hits its peak in2007 when there were 353,000 jobs but CEBR thinks the chances of a quick bounce back are slim predicting that a rise from 291,000 in 2009 to only 308,000 in 2012.

Lack of Confidence is a Barrier to Work in UK

A new study carried out by Working Links looks at the barriers facing the long-term unemployed in getting a job. It says that despite investment in schemes to help them get a job, the main problem is lack of confidence. The majority of respondents say that they require more assistance with acquiring new skills and "confidence coaching", while 55% wanted changes in the financial support provided for the transition into employment. It also found that poor physical and mental health were problems for 52%. Those interviewed had "universally negative" experiences of job centres.

UK State Schools Failing to find Governors

Research undertaken by Bath University on behalf of Business in the Community (BitC) shows that state schools are short of 40,000 governors. The report's key recommendations are to make the job easier to manage and to give head teachers greater power over running of their schools- and urge employers to give staff more paid time off to carry out governing duties. The current framework for governing bodies was introduced by the Conservatives in the late 1980s as a means of increasing "parent power". The Bath University report argues that the "historic model" for school governing bodies with teacher staff and parental representation may not have the necessary skill sets to perform their functions effectively, e.g. finance, property management and human resource management. Governors recruited from the world of business could help bring a sense of helpful critical detachment, away from day-to-day school matters.

L'Oreal Sponsors the first Law and Business Ethics Masters Degree

L'Oreal has sponsored the first class of the Law and Business Ethics Masters degree, organized by the University of Cergy-Pontoise. This is the first degree of its kind in Europe and comes in addition to L'Oreal's support of the Law and Business Chair. L'Oreal hopes in this way to make a concrete contribution to the development of business ethics in Europe. L'Oreal wishes to participate in making ethics an integral part of all corporate functions and contribute to the development of a European school of thought on ethics. At the same time, L'Oreal supports the development of the Law and Business Ethics Chair, created in July 2007, and which aims to encourage corporate responsibility.

Feminist Press and IBM Launch New Social Networking Site to Increase the Numbers of Young Women in Science

The Women Writing Science project, a multi-faceted initiative to involve young women in science and to encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), has announced the launch of the website Underthemicroscope.com. Sponsored by and developed with IBM, Underthemicroscope.com offers a wealth of continually updated information, including input from visitors to the web site. Currently the site provides the opportunity to post personal stories, feature and guest blogging, news about science, and links to related resources. Within the year the site will include more social networking opportunities, tips on careers, tips for parents, expanded links to science-related sites, and mentoring. Ultimately the site will provide information about internships and scholarships as well as serialized chapters of Women Writing Science publications that can be downloaded free of charge and an online book club. Initiated by The Feminist Press at The City University of New York with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Women Writing Science will publish books of biography, fiction, history, career profiles, and how-to-survive guides presenting women as both scientists and as writers about science. Women Writing Science will also provide free teacher guides describing lesson plans and strategies for using the books in science curricula. IBM is supporting Underthemicroscope.com as part of its efforts to encourage more young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Majority of Employers Plan to Cut Christmas

Recent research suggests that the majority of employers are planning to cancel Christmas. The research, from employment lawyer Peninsula, found that 83% of employers will not shell out on a Christmas party as staff want to save money due to the downturn, while 74% could not see the benefit of a Christmas party and 66% of employers had received harassment claims from workers following their Christmas party. According to the company, the economic downturn has forced a lot of companies to cull their Christmas celebrations. With the economic conditions the way they are, firms just cannot warrant spending money on a Christmas party. These events represent a considerable cost to any firm, whether they employ five people or 50, and many employers consider this another process in tightening their belt and making their company more cost efficient. Firms who have been forced to make people redundant may also consider spending money on a Christmas party inappropriate, as well as detrimental to the streamlining plan they are implementing in their business.

UK Employees Unconvinced their Bosses can Deal with the Downturn

According to research conducted by the Aziz Corporation, employees are becoming increasingly concerned over their bosses' ability to cope with the current economic climate. 200 employees (ranging from people involved in admin positions to senior management) were surveyed, and 81% believe that their boss have little or no experience of dealing with an economic downturn. They feel that the economy has been booming for so long, that senior members of an organisation have never experienced an economic slowdown. Almost three quarters of the people surveyed (74%) believe that many companies are reluctant to communicate to their employees the full extent of the financial downturn they are facing. Interestingly, 88% feel that companies will gain their employees trust and confidence by disclosing bad news in full, and as early as possible.

Net Impact Releases 2008 Business as UNusual: The Net Impact Student Guide to Graduate Business Programs

Net Impact, an international nonprofit organization with over 10,000 students and professional members dedicated to improving the world through business, has released its third annual edition of Business as UNusual: The Net Impact Student Guide to Graduate Business Programs. This guide is the first to document the student perspective on how graduate programs incorporate social and environmental themes into the curriculum, extra-curricular activities and career services. In addition to the individual school profiles, the guide provides school rankings in 13 categories including the overall preparation of students in ethical and socially responsible leadership, career resources that incorporate values and business skills, and the administrative support for Net Impact-related themes. Business as UNusual was created in 2006 in response to inquiries from students applying to business school with a strong interest in social and environmental themes. Developed with this goal in mind, the guide compares data on different graduate schools and their incorporation of these themes into their programs. The information in the guide was compiled from a qualitative survey completed by 64 Net Impact student chapter leaders and an online survey completed by over 1,500 Net Impact student members. The guide also highlights school stand-outs and overall trends. The guide can be downloaded for free at: www.netimpact.org/bizschoolguide

Giving Small Firms a Big Chance of Survival

A lobby group has called for the introduction of a £1 billion emergency fund to help small businesses beat the credit crunch. The Federation of Small Businesses has urged the Government to scrap their current Small Firms Loan Guarantee scheme and replace it with a new "Survival Fund" backed by money from the European Investment Bank. The group claims such a programme would act as an emergency stop-gap measure to help businesses ride out the current financial meltdown and ensure vital funds were made available to the small business community. To further ease the current pressure on small firms, the group has called for a simplified system of bidding for public sector contracts and the removal of the fee for the Supply2.gov.uk website where government contracts are advertised. They also demanded that Companies House's powers should be increased to enable it to "name, shame and fine" large companies that didn't pay their suppliers on time. Recent research has claimed that SMEs are owed around £30,000 by large businesses not paying promptly. Source: Federation of Small Businesses, 23/10/2008

UK announces Tough Rules for Foreign Students

Home Office has announced the delivery plan for the student tier of the Australian-style points system. Under the new system which will be rolled out from March next year, colleges and universities interested in admitting non European Economic Area (EEA) nationals must have a licence issued by the UK Border Agency. Licensed institutions can then sponsor non EEA students to come to study in the UK. Apart from being sponsored by a UK Border Agency-licensed education institution, foreign students will also be required to supply their fingerprints and meet the new criteria. The system will be further tightened from autumn 2009, with the introduction of a 'sponsor management system' - dedicated technology that will make it easier for universities and colleges to inform the UK Border Agency if students fail to enrol or miss more than ten sessions. Home Office said that since 1st January 2005, almost 300 bogus colleges have been removed from the Department for Universities and Skills Register of Education and Training Providers. Britain's labour market, Home Office said, will be protected by tough new rules which mean visas will only be granted to students who show a proven track record in education and are applying for a course that meets a minimum level of qualification. Students must also be able to demonstrate they can financially support themselves and any of their dependants.

"Study in Europe" website aims at increasing number of foreign students

As a way of attracting many foreign students to come study in Europe, the European Commission has launched a new web portal called "Study in Europe". The portal, at www.study-in-europe.org, is part of the Commission's wide-ranging campaign to increase the number of students from outside Europe who study in the EU. "Study in Europe" provides clear and up-to-date information about the range of courses on offer in European higher education institutions, admission procedures, costs, scholarships and the higher education environment in Europe. The website provides potential students information to help them decide which country they should go to, which university they should choose, what they may need before they leave home and what will happen when they arrive at their chosen campus. "Study in Europe" covers thirty-two European countries, their universities and what it takes to live and study in them. The website (www.study-in-europe.org) provides information in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Russian. The following countries are currently covered: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Temporary workers obtain New rights in EU

Temporary workers in the European Union will be treated equally, from day one, with those of the employer company under a new Directive on temporary agency work adopted by the European Parliament on 22nd October. However, following agreement reached in May this year between the social partners in the UK, agency workers will get the same pay and conditions as permanent staff after being employed for 12 weeks. The agreement in the UK means the Parliament can adopt the directive after being blocked in Council since 2002. Under the proposed deal, Britain's 1.3 million agency workers will get the same pay and conditions as permanent staff after being employed for 12 weeks. The revised wording of the EU Agency Workers Directive allows the UK to implement the agreement between Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Trades Union Congress (TUC) which means that an agency worker is entitled to equal treatment (at least the basic working and employment conditions that would apply to the worker concerned if they had been recruited directly to occupy the same job) after 12 weeks in a given job. According to the agreement between the CBI, TUC and the UK government, equal treatment will be defined to mean at least the basic working and employment conditions that would apply to the workers concerned if they had been recruited directly by that undertaking to occupy the same job. It will not cover occupational social security schemes.

University Grades Suffer as More UK Students Work

A third of students work the equivalent of more than two days a week to help pay for university, a survey has found. Nearly half took jobs to cover basic living costs and 45% said working had a bad effect on their studies. The survey by the National Union of Students showed that many students find the level of financial support inadequate.

Britons are Getting Happier

Britain is among 45 countries where positive feelings are up since 1981, according to the findings of the World Values Survey. Experts put the increase in happiness to rising economic prosperity, democracy and social liberalisation. The happiest countries include Colombia, Denmark and Nigeria but the number of happy people in Britain has risen 13%, says New Scientist. 7 of the 52 countries surveyed saw happiness levels fall, with Taiwan worst hit.

Not Enough Black Men at UK Universities

Not enough black men are studying at university, according to Universities Minister David Lammy. The proportion of university students who are black Caribbean males has remained at just above 1% for the past three years. And they are much more likely to be at local universities rather than at elite institutions, said the Minister. Lammy says he was the first black Briton to study for a Masters in Law at Harvard. Pointing out that the fact that some black people do make it should not lead people to become complacent, the MP for Tottenham insisted that both the African and the Afro-Caribbean communities had a strong culture of aspiration and self-improvement and that more needed to be done to tap into that culture. The number of black and mixed-race entrants to Oxford University went up by 20% in 2006.Source: Metro

For Fathers Office is Less Stressful than Children

Fathers find going to work less stressful than staying at home with their children. Research by parent advice company Bounty revealed that nearly two-thirds of working fathers admitted enjoying going to the office as it gave them a break from parenting.

Welcome to the new, upgraded ReConnect Africa website.
Please help us provide you with information relevant to your needs by completing the fields below (just this once!)