From education to employment

Setting out the Education and Training Foundation agenda

David Russell is chief executive of the Education and Training Foundation

My first three weeks as CEO of the Education and Training Foundation have been fast paced, enjoyable and hugely informative.

In my early meetings with training providers across the country I’ve sensed a real appetite to share knowledge and experience and help bring about the changes we need to ensure excellence in this diverse and hugely influential sector.

In the first 100 days I aim to do as much listening as possible. Everything we do will be shaped by the sector; it’s important that we start from where you say your business needs are and that we don’t bring a pre-cooked agenda. But we also need to start producing services quickly in order to achieve tangible benefits. The Foundation is a new player with new solutions, and we need to demonstrate our value and impact as rapidly as we can.

One of the first tasks for me and my team has been to pull sector feedback together into the Foundation’s first draft strategic plan. The plan will set out how we will work with teachers, trainers, learners, employers and government to bring about change. The change we need to have a world-class workforce in an outstanding FE and training system.

We will focus in our first year on supporting Maths and English teaching; improving leadership and governance; and creating the ‘two-way street’ with employers which is needed for the dynamic vocational education system of the future.

We can’t do this successfully without your input. We recently announced the membership of our Expert Panels, which draw on the breadth and diversity of professionals across the sector. They will play a vital role in shaping the future of the profession by advising us on future programmes and monitoring their success.

We also currently have a range of surveys, consultations and activities set up for the wider sector to influence our thinking. These include our first ever sector-wide perception survey, and the strategic conversations where we have commissioned a range of partners to speak with people on our behalf, about topics that matter to employers, learners and practitioners; topics such as maths, technology and governance.

We also had a great response in applications to our practitioner-led CPD research programme, in spite of the tight timescales we had to set. 88 applicants from all types of providers were successful and I am looking forward to the output from this work.

David Russell is chief executive of the Education and Training Foundation

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