From education to employment

New National Director of Learning to Take Learning and Skills Council (LSC) Forward

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the body responsible for awarding funding in the Further Education sector, have announced the appointment of a new Director of Learning.

The role is a vital one and the new incumbent, Melanie Hunt, is joining at a crucial juncture in the LSC’s brief history with the implementation of the restructuring outlined in the Agenda for Change soon to be implemented. The role will see the National Director of Learning overseeing the LSC’s approach to adult and young people’s learning. She will also have responsibility for quality assurance and assessments, learner support, issues of equality and diversity as well as policy innovation and development in the areas mentioned above.

A Brief Biography

Melanie has been involved in FE for many years. She is a graduate of St Catherine’s College, Oxford, gaining her post-graduate qualification at the University of Nottingham. A qualified teacher who taught geography to students aged 14″“19 in Leicestershire, her first role in FE was as an education officer with a local education authority in Sussex.

Melanie has also been involved in development and planning issues in FE from the very beginning as education officer in Sussex. She gained experience of direct FE issues on the “front line” through working in a number of FE colleges, culminating in her time as Assistant Principal in a south coast college. She has also worked for the Further Education Funding Council inspectorate, which expanded her awareness of issues in leadership, governance and management.

Melanie has also served as the Director of Strategy and Standards for the LSC in Sussex for almost four years from 2001, which saw her working in partnership with a wide range of providers and organisations to transform the post-16 education and training sector in Sussex. Her most recent role was as Director of Young People’s Learning, where she held responsibility for the 14″“19 agenda and provision for learners with learning difficulties and or/disabilities at a national level.

An Exciting Time for the LSC

Speaking of her new position, which she took up on the 3rd of January 2006, Melanie said: “We are at an exciting point in the LSC’s development. Through our agenda for change we will be positioning the organisation to have maximum impact on improving opportunities for adults and young people to participate and achieve through learning, enabling them to lead richer lives and have prosperous futures.”

She claimed that the local and national partnership in the LSC made them ideally placed to drive skills onward, and went on: “We are aiming to provide accessible opportunities for learners who may have been excluded from education and will ensure that we work with our partners to achieve learning-led regeneration in key areas across the country. We will be relentless in our pursuit of the highest quality provision, which must also demonstrate our unequivocal commitment to equality and diversity.

“I am keen to build on my local experience of working with partners in local authorities, Connexions and the learning and skills sector so that we can ““together ““deliver on the challenging 14″“19 agenda,” she continued. “We must continue to increase the numbers of young people who are participating in learning and training and who achieve Level 2 qualifications by the age of 19. A key part of this will be to ensure that our arrangements for learner support and learning support are aligned, so that learners find it easier to access learning that meets their needs and enables them to develop their potential.”

The Chief Executive of the LSC, Mark Haysom, welcomed her appointment saying: “I am delighted that Melanie has been appointed to this role. She has been a valuable member of the LSC since its inception in 2001. She will be instrumental in driving forward the LSC’s 14″“19 agenda and is committed to providing a range of high quality learning opportunities for everyone.”

At a time when the FE agenda seems to be driving towards skills for employment rather than exercising its potential for social and community inclusion and cohesion, it seems that Melanie will have a tough task to maintain and enhance FE’s inclusive agenda.

Jethro Marsh

Welcome Melanie and tell us what the main issues are for her new role in the FE Blog

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