Gavin & Kirsty

Welcome to the launch of this new podcast series, and join me, Gavin O'Meara, and Kirstie Donnelly, CEO of City & Guilds for a #VirtualCoffee and chat. 

In this episode we discuss National Apprenticeship Week, and the importance of showing the love to Apprenticeships. 

Kirstie asks, do we need to have flexibility around the Apprenticeship Levy? For example in hospitality, as an industry we have had a lost year due to Covid for Apprenticeships, so is there scope to have increased flexibility for the Levy for employers to engage more Apprentices as we come out of the pandemic.

How do we encourage DfE, DWP and BEIS to all come around the same table?

Kirstie discusses the importance of DfE, DWP and BEIS coming together for a more joined up approach and we explore, could data be the key to bringing these different Government departments all around the same table to come up with a holistic approach for the future.

We then discuss the FE White Paper, the Skills for Jobs White Paper, why the change in the title is significant. Kirstie highlights that ITP's (Independent Training Providers) didn't get much of a mention in the White Paper. We unpack College Business Centres, what could be learnt from Colleges without walls report, and what a College Business Centre of the future could be? Could College Business Centres transform the high street, live-work units are old hat now, but could we move into a new age of work / learn business spaces through College Business Centres?

Learning all lifelong

Lifelong learning is massively important to Kirstie, so we discuss the concept of learning loans that are mentioned in the White Paper and if this can help adults with level 4 and 5 and above. Kirstie interesting starts to explore outcomes, rather than be restricted by qualification levels by ‘selling opportunities’ to learners. This is very interesting, when you think about her day job!

This past year has been the age of flexible digital delivery, so we then explore the FE Digital real estate, compared to physical buildings and the importance of accessibility. Should and could the sector be thinking about more funding or support around the FE sector’s real estate and is there a need again for a combined Government department approach to help remove the digital divide and digital poverty?

25% of learners are willing to pay for new learning and an access route to new opportunities

Last week, City & Guilds launched the very timely Building Bridges towards the Future of Jobs Report. We unpack some of the findings, which were incredibly timely with the White Paper in mind. Some interesting stats around the Building Bridges report are that a third of Britons are worried about restarting their career, but only a quarter are willing to fund training themselves. So we explore the importance of Careers Advice and Guidance and what these stats could mean for learner loans.

Kirstie highlights the opportunity that this data potentially means for the sector, looking at the figures reveals that 725% of learners are willing to pay for new learning and an access route to new opportunities. Does this provide new commercial opportunities for the FE and Skills sector and what models could this bring into play?

The Building Bridges report also discusses transferrable skills and enabling people from different industries to pivot into new roles. We explore some practical steps for employers to be open-minded and inclusive and ways to educate recruitment ‘Gatekeepers’ to be open minded and inclusive in their search for talent.

Check out the podcast below to hear what Kirstie has to say:

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