From education to employment

QIAs Andrew Thompson to Join May Leadership Summit Panel for Interactive Response Session

The sunshine of a British summer beckons (weather permitting) and with the promise of warmth and reckless sunbathing the 2006 conference season is drawing into plain sight.

With this in mind, one of the highlights of the conference season is set to be the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) Leadership Summit, to be held on the 15th of May. In a move to bring an even more responsive ethos to the event, the CEL have announced the line up for the panel selected to respond to delegates through the interactive Talkback session.

The panel is designed to foster debate and to build an open exchange of ideas between senior sector leaders. This, it is hope, will enable the attendees to debate important issues within FE, assisted by the use of cutting edge technology to facilitate the process and display the results of the debate. After this process, the panel will answer key questions and issues raised, with the results being used to inform ministers and senior figures in the civil service and employment fields.

The Panel

The panel is made up of senior figures from across the Further Education sector. They will include Andrew Thomson, chief executive of the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA); Ruth Silver, principal of Lewisham College, London; Stephen Marston, director general of lifelong learning and skills for the Department for Education and Skills (DfES); David Hunter, chief executive of Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK); Stella Mbubaegbu, principal and chief executive of Highbury College; Ray Dowd, agenda for change champion for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC); Kat Fletcher, the president of the National Union of Students (NUS); and Chris Payne, chief executive of the Nottinghamshire Training Network.

Announcing the panel, Lynne Sedgmore, the CEL chief executive, said: “Talkback will provide an innovative forum for debate, and we are delighted that so many experts have agreed to join our panel and respond to the issues, questions and comments of our delegates.”

Establishing a truly responsive format for a conference is a fine notion in theory; it can sometimes seem that networking is the lifeblood of events, with six times as much time set aside for a glass of wine and a bread roll as is allotted to questions. However, the delivery of real change relies not only on the laudable efforts for delegate participation as exemplified by the CEL, but also on the willingness for those for whom the conclusions are destined to take on board the fears, hopes and frustrations of those within FE.

Jethro Marsh

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