Simon Kelleher, Head of Education and Skills at Policy Connect

The future for FE and 5 ways to fully realise the PM’s "Lifetime Skills Guarantee" vision 

In Tuesday's speech from Exeter College, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out the Government’s plans to transform our training and skills system. The speech outlined the problem of supply and demand imbalances in the post-18 education and training systems, and set out five proposals to reform the funding system and end the bias towards academic education.

While some of the proposals repackaged existing policies, notably on capital funding and unspent levy funds, the new announcements on the Lifetime Guarantee and unifying the funding system between FE and HE courses signals a new approach to our skills system. We may therefore expect to see some bold reforms in the FE White Paper along the lines of our recommendations in our England’s Skills Puzzle report earlier this year.

We would hope that the entitlements to level three training and four years’ worth of post-18 funding demonstrate a commitment to greater choice in tertiary education and to the importance of lifelong learning. Significant investment will be needed to reverse the long term decline in adult learning, but the Guarantee represents an important step towards reassessing the value of adult learning.

Creating a more unified funding system, and enabling FE providers and learners to benefit from access to the HE system of finance and support, is also an important step towards creating greater parity of esteem between different education pathways and one that we called for in our Skills Puzzle report. Similarly, the greater flexibilities around apprenticeships could both help apprentices in the short term and shift us towards the flexible system we called for in our Degree Apprenticeships report.

The FE White Paper will in addition need to set out wider underpinning reforms to ensure that these measures deliver the systematic change our skills systems needs if it is to aid recovery and adapt to the demands of the fourth industrial revolution.

1. Greater strategic direction and accountability

First, the skills system requires greater strategic direction and accountability. The FE White Paper must indicate how government intends to better link provision to major national agendas, around levelling-up, industrial strategy and Net-Zero. As advocated in our England’s Skills Puzzle report, the Skills and Productivity Board needs to play a greater role in independently monitoring the government’s progress and stabilising the damaging policy churn that has bedevilled the sector.    

2. Engage employers at both a sectoral and local level

To boost national productivity we will need to become better at consistently engaging employers at both a sectoral and local level. Our recent roundtables with the Learning and Work Institute, on the English Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper, underlined the importance of this. To help people, employers and communities in the challenging times ahead, the skills and employment agendas must be brought together at the local level. We will need to work in partnership to articulate skills needs and make demand side interventions to improve job quality.

3. New funding mechanisms

In addition, for the Lifetime Guarantee to be sustainable over our longer working lives, funding levels may need to be increased or new mechanisms developed, such as Personal Learning Accounts, for co-investment between individuals, employers and government.

4. Invest in staff retention and recruitment

On the supply side, it is clear that we need to invest in staff retention and recruitment, and build collaborative local systems, which compete on quality and collaborate to meet employer need. Providing three year funding settlements instead of volatile one year cycles, and introducing incentives to cooperate, such as collaboration fund, will be an important part of this.

5. Value the important role of careers advice and guidance

Finally, there was a critical missing piece of the jigsaw in the Prime Minister’s speech. This is the important role that careers advice and guidance will play in informing people of the breadth of pathways open to them. Improving access via funding reform is one part of the equation, but demonstrating the benefits of an apprenticeship or HND is the other.

The Skills Commission is currently investigating this piece of the skills puzzle with Nicola Richards MP, Lord Jim Knight and Dr Siobhan Neary. We will be feeding our initial findings into the DfE as they develop the FE whitepaper and will publish our recommendations in the New Year.

Simon Kelleher, Head of Education and Skills at Policy Connect

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 2 hours 28 minutes ago

Latest #FENews updates for today 10/20/2020 - https://t.co/iUxhBd9yjP
View Original Tweet

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.

Podcasts

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.

Events

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