Employers in the driving seat?

Date published: 16.09.2021

The President of the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL), Dame Ruth Silver, has identified an acute need for FE leaders to ‘forecast and shape change’ and ‘to play a stronger part in building the future of the sector’, saying that FE is ‘under-understood, under-conceptualised, under-researched and under-theorised.’ In early 2018, FETL commissioned AELP Research to help address this need by organising a series of facilitated roundtable discussions at which diverse groups of leaders can share views and develop their thinking on behalf of the sector.

This paper written by researchers at AELP aims to stimulate and help develop thinking in and about the FE and skills sector today. Between April and July 2018, AELP are running a series of roundtable research discussions with senior leaders from across the FE and skills sector – providers and stakeholders. This paper is our starting point at these roundtables, but it has also been made available to a much wider audience.

The particular topic selected for consideration in this paper is the current and future role of employers in the FE system and implications for the leadership of training providers. In recent years, vocational skills and further education policy has seen a sustained rise in prominence in the role of employers. The notion of education and learning as having inherent worth seems, it is argued, to be losing ground to the primacy of the needs of industry, productivity and employers.

In summary, we are asking experts to develop and share their views on the shifting nature of the balance between provider/employer/state in the FE system.

How do any such shifts affect how leaders view the priorities and possibilities of their own organisations and for the sector as a whole?

How is this dynamic affected by another particularly significant and fast-changing influence, digital technologies?

Read the full paper:

Employers in the driving seat?
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