From education to employment

Our countrywide view on education and training

Earlier this month, the Education and Training Foundation held a two day Board residential at Chesterfield College.

We are committed to meeting at various venues around the country as part of our ‘business as usual’: it is essential that national decision-making is done at a healthy distance from the gravitational pull of London and its unique circumstances.

The Board took the chance to hear from a wide array of local voices, as well as testing in depth the Foundation’s stated priorities to see what they meant in the Chesterfield context. Those priorities are, of course, improving maths and English teaching; improving leadership, especially by Governing Bodies; and creating a VET system with employers at the heart.

Our visit was timed to coincide with National Apprenticeships Week. We chose Chesterfield College as the location for the meeting because of its excellent record running Learning Unlimited, which currently has over 2,000 Apprentices successfully working and learning with almost 1,000 different employers across the region.

Flexible and responsive to employer needs, the College has a lot of effective practice to share as was clear from the presentations from College Principal Trevor Clay and his senior team, as well as a College tour. In the evening the catering students exhibited their skills with an excellent dinner, which we shared with strategic influencers and employers from across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

I was interested to hear from employers large and small, and from the D2N2 LEP, who told us about the skills they need from the workforce now and in the foreseeable future.

It was also good to hear a range of providers from the FE and training world describe how they are seeking to move beyond effective transactional customer-provider relationships and work collaboratively with employers to shape their offer at all levels. It requires employers to step up to the plate and invest the time and effort, but can be done when rich conversations happen between the parties.

If you are interested in hosting the Foundation’s board at some point in the future, or have any other news you would like to share with us, do contact us at [email protected] and let us know. We’d be delighted to hear from you.

Please stay in touch with our activities at or follow us on Twitter @e_t_foundation.

David Russell is chief executive of the Education and Training Foundation

Related Articles