Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, has announced the creation of the Independent Commission on Lifelong Learning. The commission will investigate the best ways to ensure adults have access to learning and retraining throughout their lives, and will be chaired by Rajay Naik, Chief Executive Officer of Keypath Education and former director of The Open University.
The commission will consider the viability of bold ideas such as Individual Learning Accounts, which could offer adults a pot of money to be used to pay for upskilling and retraining opportunities, ensuring people are able to stay up-to-date with technological advances and changes in the job market. The commission will consider this and other options to increase access to further education, online learning, part-time study and retraining services.
Naik’s company is a world-leader in online learning and he previously ran all external activity at the OU, Britain’s largest university, where he was a key architect of the FutureLearn MOOC platform.
Naik has served on the government’s National Careers Council, Digital Skills Commission, Learning and Skills Council and UK-ASEAN Business Council. He is currently on the board of the UBS Foundation, New Payment Systems Operator and Ditchley Foundation.
The commission’s membership and timescales are to be announced over the coming weeks with a formal consultation process due to begin shortly thereafter.
Commenting on the commission, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable said:
“We recognise that fast paced economic and technological change will have a real impact on the job market in future. People could find themselves having to retrain and change career several times through their working lives, as industries evolve with developments in automation and AI. We embrace innovation and the positive changes technology can bring. But we also know that this can cause real concern to people who may see their jobs change dramatically over the course of their careers.
“Rajay Naik brings exceptional national and international expertise in higher and further education. I know that he and his team will be working hard to bring forward creative, costed and ambitious proposals to ensure that our workforce is resilient in the face of major change, and that we offer opportunities for people to retrain and upskill throughout their lives.”
Commenting after the announcement, Rajay Naik Chief Executive Officer of Keypath Education said:
“Ensuring that all people have the skills to thrive in the modern world, and can retrain for new industries throughout their life, is critically important to our nation’s competitiveness. I very much looking forward to hearing the views of experts, organisations and citizens across the country, and bringing forward recommendations which enable more people to work, earn and learn.”