Jennifer Coupland, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

Jennifer Coupland started as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education @IFAteched last November. She reflects below on the joys of #NationalApprenticeshipWeek #NAW2020 and her top five priorities looking ahead:

1. Establishing our employer credentials

It is thrilling to be into the swing of NAW. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get out there and celebrate everything that’s innovative and exciting about apprenticeships.

My favourite week of the year skills-wise also provides a good opportunity to reflect on how we can make things even better.

The Institute must work hard at becoming an even closer ally of employers, to help ensure that the apprenticeships and T Levels system we’re helping them roll out is truly capable of filling the skills gap.

While there have been lots of kind words said about the work we do, by employers developing apprenticeships and employer groups, I appreciate that there is a more we can do to establish our employer credentials.

This will be the key theme of my time as CEO.

2. Simplifying EQA and funding bands

We will also be launching public consultations in the coming weeks on our plans to simplify:

I can assure you that there will be a big drive to make these key areas of our work more transparent and easier to understand.

3. Launching T Levels

Another exciting priority, that is dear to my heart, will be the launch in September of the first T Levels. This will of course be a completely new form of technical education, which is more classroom based than apprenticeships but still involves significant work experience. I’m pleased to report that this is progressing well.

I said in my job interview that I would like to think I’m uniquely qualified to lead the Institute.

This is because I have spent much of the last decade rolling out apprenticeship and technical education reforms. My previous role was Director of Professional and Technical Education at the Education and Skills Funding Agency, part of the Department for Education (DfE), where my focus was on preparing T Levels for launch.

Prior to that I was Deputy Director of the Apprenticeships Unit where I was responsible for apprenticeship reforms, including creating the first Trailblazer employer groups to lead on designing new apprenticeships.

I was incredibly proud to see how far we have come at the Institute’s Employer Summit in Birmingham before Christmas. I got to meet hundreds of committed employers who have played a key role in developing new apprenticeships and T Levels since we started on this journey together.

4. Helping organisations get the skills they need to succeed

I am fortunate to be following in the footsteps of my predecessor Sir Gerry Berragan, who did a fantastic job of establishing the Institute and I know was widely respected.

I see my role now as taking us to the next stage in our development - which will be establishing the Institute as a more independent force in the employer-led skills training system.

Our unique selling point is that we work directly with thousands of employers from across the whole economy to develop new apprenticeships and technical qualifications. This means we are in a great position to help their organisations get the skills they need to succeed.


The employer-led skills reforms have already resulted in a much broader variety of apprenticeships up to degree level and beyond. That is what I remember employers told us they wanted, when the Richard Review on apprenticeships first mapped out how we should reform the system way back in 2012.

If we continue along this route, taking on board the views of training providers and awarding organisations as everything beds-in, then the skills system will in turn work better for apprentices.

5. Supporting social mobility

We welcome the Prime Minister’s recent commitment to harnessing apprenticeships’ ability to support social mobility. I look forward to working with the government on this.

With more than 500 apprenticeship standards now available, there are fantastic opportunities for progression. People from a wider variety of backgrounds can for example earn and learn their way to becoming nurses, paramedics, accountants, solicitors, actuaries, laboratory technicians, and architects through apprenticeships.

Our revamped occupational maps, which can be found on our website, chart the best routes that apprentices can progress from entry-level right up to degree-level.

Where people need to go to with their enquiries and who is best placed to help

There’s no doubt that the system can be made easier for employers and apprentices to understand and use.

We will be making changes to our website and working closely with the DfE and National Apprenticeship Service, to enable clearer signposting of where people need to go to with their enquiries and who is best placed to help.

As a good rule of thumb:

  • The Education and Skills Funding Agency manages engagement with providers.
  • The National Apprenticeship Service’s help page is a great one stop shop for employer and apprentice enquiries.
  • We [the Institute] are here to help employers design and rollout new apprenticeships and T Levels and our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is ready to answer any questions about that process.

A key success marker for my time leading the Institute will be how closely we are able to develop our working relationship with employers. I want them to view us as their champion in the apprenticeships and technical education arena, so we can work together on realising the full potential of an employer-led skills system that works for everyone.

Jennifer Coupland, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Newsroom Activity

Kerry Boffey added a new event 10 hours

Introduction to Fellowship of Inspection Nominees

Join Kerry Boffey, founder of the Fellowship of Inspection Nominees (fin) for an informal session outlining fin support available to providers in...

  • Tuesday, 14 July 2020 02:00 PM
  • On-line. Longdon Hall, Longdon on Tern
Kerry Boffey - updated event, Safeguarding Masterclass 11 hours 7 minutes ago

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page