Joan Scott, Assistant Principal, Trafford College

Centre of Excellence Combats Covid Crisis as @WorldSkillsUK and @NCFE join forces 

A breakthrough approach to training young people was launched today (21 Sept), bringing world-class skills to tens of thousands of apprentices and students at colleges across the UK, in a game-changing development aimed at combating the economic impact of Covid-19.

WorldSkills UK, the education and skills charity, has joined forces with NCFE, a leading provider of educational services, to use its unique insights in global skills systems and track record of training young people to world-class standards at the ‘Skills Olympics’ to help more young people throughout the UK and their employers succeed.

neil bentley gockmannSpeaking at the Centre of Excellence’s national launch at Trafford College, Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, CEO of WorldSkills UK said:

“Make no mistake, this is a milestone moment.  Governments have asked leaders in further education to fast track change and recalibrate to deliver a skills-led recovery and we have answered the call.

“This is a radical new way of working with college leaders to bring global best practice to local economies and level up skills across the country – ensuring that we can embed international standards into training programmes and deliver what employers need in order to kick-start the economy.

“This is just the start – our ambition over the next three years is to lead the way in developing world-class skills and tackling vocational snobbery head on. We will be  delivering higher quality training to  create more prestige for apprenticeships and technical qualifications for all young people, including in areas of social and economic disadvantage to help boost career aspirations and social mobility.”

A team of high-performance skills coaches, who have all worked at the highest international level, have been brought in to drive forward the programme.

Gavin Williamson 100x100Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: 

“We are working to transform further education in this country. Covid-19 has had huge impact on the entire country particularly young people and the sector has done a fantastic job helping young people continue their studies during this challenging time. 

“This innovative partnership with WorldSkills UK and NCFE will ensure young people receive the best vocational training possible and help businesses have access to the talented workforce they need to rebuild after Covid-19.”

“I look forward to hearing more about this exciting project.”

The initial three-year project saw over a quarter of all FE Colleges apply to be part of the first year of the Centre of Excellence, which will see over 40,000 young people benefit from this training, boosting their employability skills and potential.  In total 160 colleges and independent training institutions are set to benefit from the injection of international standards in the first three years of the Centre of Excellence.

A further 35 colleges from across the UK have been invited this year to join the new WorldSkills UK Innovation Network and will have access to international best practice and benchmarking to drive up standards and embed curriculum innovation with the opportunity to access further development support from the Centre of Excellence in year two and three of the pilot. 


The WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence will cover four strands of work:

1. Train the Trainer:  

A team of high-performance skills coaches will work with college staff to deliver a professional workforce training programme to transform the quality of teaching, learning and assessment embedding world-class practices and techniques.

2. Digital Workshops: 

Learning library to translate lessons from world-class practices available to all FE Colleges and Independent Training Providers throughout the UK.

3. Developing Standards: 

WorldSkills UK’s unique insights into global skills systems will be used to influence change in higher technical standards across qualifications and assessment development.

4. Dissemination of global insight: 

WorldSkills UK will conduct independent research to explore how other countries embed teaching excellence in their skills systems, with an emphasis on policy and practical lessons which can be adopted in the UK to improve standards. 



Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, CEO of WorldSkills UK added: 

“There has been such appetite from college leaders to mainstream excellence in their training that we have set up this new network to enable us to help ensure even more young people can  benefit from the highest international standards of training.” 

David Gallagher 100x100David Gallagher, Chief Executive at NCFE, commented: 

“Skills change the lives of young people. They build self-esteem and release potential, create opportunities and build stronger communities, and are the foundation of economic and social progress, which is why we are thrilled to be partnering with WorldSkills UK on this revolutionary and timely project.

“As the economic impact of Covid-19 becomes fully evident, it’s clear that we must do all we can to support young people and provide them with access to high-quality education and training to equip them with the knowledge, skills and mindset to make the most of opportunities when the economy and labour market recovers.

“By providing much needed investment in technical educators through the Centre of Excellence, we will mainstream international best practice into programme delivery. We are raising the bar for technical teaching and helping to create a cohort of highly skilled, employment-ready young people who can positively contribute to the workforce as we strive to rebuild the UK economy. The impact of this project will resonate for years to come and has the potential to inspire and create the next generation of world-class educators and learners, whilst creating a prestige for apprenticeships and technical teaching which will both positively impact the economy and promote social mobility.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 9 hours 34 minutes ago

Zoom in on Apprenticeships

Georgia chats with Victoria Gage, Careers Hub Lead at Devon County Council.

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 9 hours 36 minutes ago

Future Skills Centre

Welcome to the Future Skills Centre. A fully refurbished venue operated by Exeter College in partnership with Devon County Council, the Future...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 9 hours 36 minutes ago

Activate Learning students are chosen to appear in nationwide showcase: Activate Learning (@Activate_Learn) is exci…
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 Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 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, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

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