The Government has made skills training at all levels — and vocational qualifications — a centrepiece of its education strategy. It has urged schools to provide the 16+ diploma, universities to admit and cater for students holding vocational qualifications, and both schools and universities to engage employers in developing their provision and to secure funding direct from employers. This radical agenda has the potential to revolutionise all levels of education.
This conference will explore the implications of the Government’s skills agenda for schools, colleges and universities. What are the prospects for the new 16+ diplomas? Will they be a dead end or provide a route to HE? How will — and how should — universities deal with them for the purpose of admission? How should we be getting closer to employers? What do employers really want of the outputs of the education system? And what are the realistic prospects of persuading them to pay more?
This conference will shed light on these and related questions by bringing together some of those most closely involved in developing and implementing the “skills agenda”. It will be chaired by Barry Sheerman MP, Chairman of the Education and Skills Select Committee, who recently produced a report warning that the Government risked failure with its new diplomas. Speakers will include David Eastwood, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England; Stephen Marston, Director General, Lifelong Learning and Skills at the DfES; Chris Humphries, Director General of City and Guilds; Martin Ward, Deputy General-Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders; Michael Driscoll, Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University and until recently Chairman of the Campaign for Modern Universities; Deian Hopkin, Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University and chair of UniversitiesUK’s Skills Task Group; Richard Pring, Director of the Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education; Anthony McClaran, Chief Executive of UCAS; Carl Gilleard, Chief Executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters; and Liz Reid, Chief Executive of the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust.