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FE and skills experts and employers asked to contribute to newly launched independent Commission

An independent Commission established to improve adult vocational teaching and learning has been formally launched by the Skills Minister, John Hayes.
The unveiling of the Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning (CAVTL) was used to call upon employers, teachers, trainers, leaders and learners to contribute their thoughts and ideas to inform the Commission which has been set up to explore how the quality and impact of adult vocational teaching and learning can be further improved for learners.

Speaking at the launch of the Commission, chair Frank McLoughlin CBE said: “This is a Commission about the future – of people, of businesses, the economy and society. With the support of major employers, it reflects the further education and skills sector’s ambition to support the success of learners and employers by developing a new generation of ‘home grown’ talent and highly skilled technicians to drive our future prosperity.”

As stated by the Government in New Challenges, New Chances, the Further Education and Skills system reform plan, last December, the sector-led Commission has been tasked with raising the quality, and improving the outcomes and impact, of adult vocational teaching and learning in the further education and skills sector, for learners and employers. Its findings and recommendations are due to be published in spring 2013.

The Commission was formally launched by the Minister on Wednesday 11 July at Farringdon Station, the location of a major railway engineering and construction project linking London Underground, Thameslink and the new Crossrail development, and a prime example of the diverse range of vocational skills needed to lay the foundations for future growth.

The event was hosted jointly by Frank McLoughlin CBE, principal of City and Islington College, and chair of the Commission, and Gil Howarth, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE).

Speaking at the launch, Minister Hayes said: “This Commission is the first of its kind, and will be a driving force in lifting adult vocational education to the heights of excellence and bestowing it with the status it deserves.

“Practical skills not only provide individuals with a sense of pride in their achievements, they are also at the heart of all the Government seeks to achieve in order to stimulate growth and rebalance the economy.”

Commission chair, Frank McLoughlin, said: “We want employers, practitioners, learners and anyone else involved in the FE and skills sector to get involved and contribute their thoughts and ideas to this Commission. This is an independent sector-led Commission which is why it is so important that we hear from those who understand what makes a difference for learners.”

Attendees at the launch had an opportunity to talk to apprentices working on the developments at Farringdon Station.

Gil Howarth of NSARE, which has this year stimulated the employment of 2000 apprentices within the railway engineering sector said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Commission.  Top quality training is essential to providing the world class skills that we need to deliver major railway engineering projects such as the development of Farringdon Station by Network Rail, London Underground, and Crossrail in partnership.  The apprentices we have met today confirm that the future of our industry is in good hands.”

Prior to the launch on 11 July, members of the Commission gathered for the first  time at the end of June at a meeting at BAE Systems’ training centre in Preston, hosted by Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director, Programmes & Support, and an industrial ambassador with the Commission, as well as a member of the UK Commission for Employment & Skills.  The event aimed to set the tone for the Commission’s approach which will be taking account of learners’ and employers’ views throughout its work, as well as gathering evidence from the whole range of providers and practitioners, and learning from effective and innovative  practice across the sector and amongst both large and small employers.


Notes to Editors

1. The independent Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning has been set up to explore how to raise the quality, and improve the outcomes and impact, of adult vocational teaching and learning in the further education and skills sector for learners and employers.  It will report in March 2013.  

2. The 19 commissioners are:

  • Frank McLoughlin CBE, Chair, and Principal of City and Islington College
  • Fiona McMillan OBE, Vice Chair, and President of the Association of Colleges and former Principal, Bridgwater College
  • Graham Schuhmacher MBE¸ Vice Chair, and Head of Development Services at Rolls-Royce
  • Bill Alexander, Head of Training and Skills, National Skills Academy - Railway Engineering
  • Richard Atkins, Principal, Exeter College
  • Professor Mariane Cavalli, Principal, Warwickshire College
  • Rob Hammond, Managing Director, Direct Training Solutions Ltd
  • Professor Matthew Harrison, Director of Education, The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Sue Hill, Head of Teaching and Learning, West Herts College
  • Gary Hughes, Director of Curriculum and Developments (Adults), Hull College
  • Colonel Carolyn Johnstone, Ministry of Defence
  • Roshni Joshi, Student, South Downs College and NUS representative
  • Martina Milburn CBE, Chief Executive, The Prince’s Trust
  • Shauni O’Neill, National Apprentice of the Year 2011, Transport for London
  • Jacqui Ramus, Practice Development Manager, St Monica Trust
  • Mike Smith, Curriculum Development Manager, Eagit Training
  • Alastair Taylor, Quality Advisor, Landex
  • Tom Wilson, Director, Unionlearn
  • Dereth Wood, Director of Operations, learndirect

3. The independent Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning is supported by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, the Institute for Learning and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

4. The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is providing secretariat support to the Commission.

5. LSIS is the sector-led body formed to accelerate quality improvement, increase participation and raise standards and achievement in the Further Education (FE) and Skills sector in England.

LSIS is dedicated to working in partnership with all parts of the FE and Skills sector in order to build on the sector’s own capacity to design, commission and deliver improvement and strategic change as well as sustain self improvement.

LSIS is responsible for developing and providing resources that help colleges and providers implement initiatives and improve quality. This is achieved by commissioning products and services, identifying and sharing good practice throughout the system, and providing tailored programmes of support.
6. Photographs of the event are available on request.

For further information, please contact:

Claire Gill, Head of Communications, LSIS
Tel: 024 7662 7943