From education to employment

Exclusive with Chris Banks

Organisations which stand still and don”t respond to changes in their market stumble and fall; successful organisations in tune with their market adapt and transform. The same principle applies to the Further Education (FE) system and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) itself.

The learning and skills system has moved on considerably since the LSC’s inception, and the Education and Training Bill, published last week, takes us one giant step further. It puts in place a set of reforms that will make the system more responsive, that will recognise success and eliminate poor quality. Reforms that put the LSC and the sector in the best position to do its job: to give learners and employers the skills and training they need to succeed in life and compete in a modern global economy.

The Bill also re-enforces the LSC’s role as a strategic partner and “market maker” matching the demand from learners and employers with the supply of learning and training ““and intervening only when that market is failing to deliver – whether in terms of quality, responsiveness or relevance.

And as the LSC’s role changes, so must its organisational structures. We have already reformed our executive structure and there are now small local teams in place, working in partnership with providers and other local stakeholders to make sure local people and their employers get the training and skills they need.

The Bill has given us the opportunity to align our non-executive structure with that of the executive. The 47 Local Councils have a played a key part in the LSC’s success to date. Going forward the need is different. Instead, we plan to have 9 Regional Councils, both strengthening our regional impact and simplifying the local landscape. These changes will free up the LSC locally and give us the flexibility and agility to work across different boundaries and to work more effectively with other local bodies and partners.

Change is a constant, but one thing is certain: there is a now a clear imperative for us to make sure that this country is in the best possible shape to deal with the challenges of social and economic change and of international competition. Let’s seize this opportunity to move FE centre stage and deliver an outstanding performance.

Christopher Banks, Chairman, Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

Next week exclusively on FE News:

On Monday, Rob Wye from the Learning and Skills Council responds to the FE News debate on the £11 billion LSC budget, and Liz Smith from unionlearn pens her December column

Related FE News articles:

FE News Talks to Rob Wye – 23/11/06

Government Publish FE Bill – 22/11/06

“Fund Those Areas of FE That Need Help” – 20/11/06

Impossible to Measure Spending Success – 27/10/06

FE Leaders Respond to LSC Report – 20/10/06

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