From education to employment

Sector Response – Justine Greening: Britain needs a skills revolution

In her speech last week (6 July), Education Secretary Justine Greening urged companies to help her in her mission to create an ‘army of skilled young people’. She was addressing business leaders at the British Chamber of Commerce Education summit.

Her comments throw a spotlight onto technical education, into which the government plans to invest £500m. 

Andy Donell100x100One business leader who is applauding the move and is keen to support her is Andy Donnell, Managing Director of facilities management company ABM UK, which employs 5,500 people. He is a shining example of the possibilities that technical training offers, having started as an apprentice electrician and now running a multi-million pound business. 
The mechanical and electrical engineering part of the industry is facing a huge skills gap, and with a lack of focus on this type of education in recent years, Andy has been taking things into his own hands: 
  1. Invested in setting up an in-house training centre where apprentices are trained and existing employees can up-skill 
  2. Quotes the moment that female apprentice Marissa Francis won ‘Apprentice o the Year’ at an industry awards as ‘the highlight of his career’
  3. Is about to launch a perception change campaign funded by the company and peers to start to engage young people in the exciting career opportunities available to them in the facility s management world. 
  4. He was fully supportive of the Apprenticeship Levy launched earlier this year 
  5. Is keen to understand how T-Levels will likely benefit the facilities management industry which is reliant on skilled talent 
  6. He agrees that investing in home-grown skills is vital especially considering the uncertain impact that Brexit will have

collab thumbnailCollab Group Statement: “In her speech to the British Chambers of Commerce Business and Education conference, Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening, spoke about the need for a genuine partnership between business, Government and the education sector to unlock the potential of young people and adults to deliver the skilled workforce that employers and the economy need. It is great that FE has been placed at the centre of these reforms. Aside from the announcement of a Strategic College Improvement Fund and an expansion of the FE commissioner’s role, the speech largely re-affirmed existing Government skills policy. The general thrust of this policy is to be welcomed but in policy such as the £500 million funding to reform technical education there is still very little detail about exactly how these funds will be distributed.

“The speech also reaffirmed the Conservative Manifesto commitment to develop a dedicated programme to help industry experts join the FE sector. This might be helpful.  But what we now need to see is a shift from a conceptual discussion to practical and pragmatic implementation.  If we are all to truly deliver the cultural shift that Justine Greening referenced in her speech, we will need to be creative in our thinking. Simply recruiting business people into the sector is not new. What is needed are collaborative models which harness and leverage the expertise of industry and of FE to deliver new and innovative ways to increase the productive capacity of the UK, meet the massive skills challenges industry faces and ensures young people have the skills to be fully employable.”

Lord David Sainsbury, chair of the Independent Panel on Technical Education, whose report led to the reforms, said: “The introduction of T-levels are an essential reform to technical education. England must develop world-class technical qualifications that will maintain the confidence of employers not just for a few years, but for decades to come.”

david hughes 100 x100David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: “The introduction of T Levels represents a great opportunity to make a step change in how technical and professional education is viewed in this country. To achieve that we need the government to consider and develop a picture of the whole system of post 16 skills and the implementation planning in partnership with employers, students, colleges and others. I am pleased that the Secretary of State has set that ambition out very clearly – a proper co-creation which meets employer needs as well as supporting more people to succeed in learning, find work and progress through long and fruitful careers.”

Mission to deliver world-class technical education to give young people the best start.

Education Secretary Justine Greening has today (6 July) set out her mission to spark the skills revolution needed to help Britain make a success of leaving the European Union.

In a keynote speech to business leaders at the British Chambers of Commerce Education summit, Justine Greening told business leaders that the country can only rise to the challenge of developing the skills and talents of our young people if government and business work together. This includes developing plans for new T levels, backed by an extra £500 million of government investment per year announced in the budget, which will help build the army of skilled young people that business and the country need.

Justine Greening also outlined plans to deliver the huge range of skills needed to make Britain a success, everything from coding to engineering and construction to design, at a time when migration remains high on the political agenda.

Education Secretary Justine Greening told the business audience:

I want to create an army of skilled young people for British business. But I need your help. Government can’t do it alone.

Because that’s what we need, never more than now. A skills revolution for Brexit Britain. That’s the real strategy on migration.

Great companies need great people. And my Department has a mission to give our young people the very best start – to become those great people.

The introduction of T-Levels will be the next stage in this journey – a gold standard for technical and professional excellence. Offered alongside apprenticeships, they will form the basis of our new technical education system.

Delivering these reforms will be a challenge. I am clear there is only one way to get this right – through a genuine partnership between business, government and education professionals. This means we need a collective plan. One plan. One team. for skills.

A skills revolution. A technical education revolution. That is how we meet those challenges – head on. It’s how we build our future.

T levels will build on the success of the government’s ambitious reforms that have already contributed to the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training being at a record low.

But still too many young people are being left behind, which is why the Education Secretary is responding to calls from business and education experts – CBI, BCC, Ofqual, the Association of Colleges and Lord Sainsbury – to get technical education right for a new generation.

Justine Greening also announced:

  • £50 million investment from April 2018 to fund high quality work placements -a key component of every T Level – to help prepare young people for skilled work
  • £15m to contribute to improvements in further education so we have the colleges and teachers we need to deliver the new T levels
  • Plans to bolster the role of the current Further Education Commissioner – Richard Atkins – who will take on responsibility for Further Education Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges
  • Plans for a Department for Education summit with businesses in the autumn to start developing the T level curriculum

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