From education to employment

Peter Lauener to head SFA and EFA

Education Funding Agency (EFA) chief executive Peter Lauener is set to also head the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) from next Monday, the government has announced.

Mr Lauener will have separate accountability for each agency’s budget and there are no plans to merge the two bodies.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “I am pleased to welcome Peter to his new post. He brings a wealth of experience in skills and in working with employers.

“In his new role leading both SFA and EFA he will help to join up our programme of reform across the education and skills sector.”

He replaces Barbara Spicer, who departed in September after completing a temporary nine-month contract.

Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group colleges association, said: “As chief executive of the Education Funding Agency, Peter has worked hard to understand the needs of Further Education colleges and to support them during what has been a difficult period in terms of overall funding.

“He has been responsive to concerns, and colleges have welcomed having the ability to interact with the funding agency in a more localised way. We are sure that he will bring this approach to his new role heading up the Skills Funding Agency. Having one chief executive for both agencies will surely help bring about the consistency of approach for which many in further education have long argued.

“While we recognise that today’s announcement does not indicate a merging of the two agencies, we welcome the signal it most certainly gives that funding for our whole education system must be looked at in the round and through the same lens. We look forward to working with Peter in his new capacity – as well as his existing one.”

David Hughes, chief executive of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, said: “I know Peter well and know that he will bring a lot of knowledge and expertise to this role at a time when meeting skills gaps and skills shortages is crucial.

“I am also pleased that this signals a more joined-up approach to learning and skills from the government, something we called for in our general election manifesto in June. Bringing together the leadership of the EFA and SFA is a significant step in the right direction.”

Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said: “Peter has a long history of working with the skills and employment sector including independent training providers. This appointment will enable Peter to join together a number of policy development areas across the 16 to 18 and 19+ sectors.

“We will be delighted to work with Peter to realise the ambitions to grow the skills programmes such as English and maths, Traineeships and Apprenticeships. Peter’s commitment to ensuring that the Apprenticeship programme is a real option for the 16 -18 cohort will be very important as the Apprenticeship reforms take shape. We would like to congratulate Peter on his appointment and look forward to working with him in this new and challenging role.”

Natalie Thornhill

(Pictured: Incoming SFA CEO Peter Lauener)

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