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New adult vocational commissioners announced

A team of 19 vocational education experts have been announced as the newest addition to the independent Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning.

The new commissioners will be led by chair Frank McLoughlin CBE, principal of City and Islington College.  He will be supported by vice chairs Fiona McMillan OBE, president of the Association of Colleges, formerly principal of Bridgwater College and Graham Schuhmacher MBE, Head of Development Services at Rolls-Royce.

Announced by Government in New Challenges, New Chances 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. The final findings and recommendations of the independent Commission are due to be published in spring 2013.

Frank McLoughlin, CBE said: "I am pleased to welcome on-board our new commissioners.  I am keen for this Commission to be innovative and inclusive in its approach, and to reflect the diverse interests of learners, employers and the whole further education and skills sector.  We will be taking account of learners' and employers' views throughout our work and it will be important for us to take evidence from the whole range of providers and practitioners, learning from effective practice in colleges and private training providers.  As the Commission's agenda develops, we will be looking at other ways to further strengthen the breadth, depth and reach of our work."

The formation of the Commission has been enthusiastically welcomed by the sector and has the support of leading multi-national companies who see the potential to develop a new generation of 'home-grown' highly skilled technicians to drive future manufacturing and engineering success. 

Frank McLoughlin said: "Adult vocational teaching and learning is an under-recognised area of education however our commissioners will have a range of evidence and research literature on which to draw. The Commission gives us an opportunity to turn the spotlight on a part of the education system that will be critical to all our futures.

Although we have the support of big businesses we realise that if we don’t rise to the challenge of nurturing ‘home grown’ talent and supporting the further education and skills system to do this, employers will have to go elsewhere to find the skilled workers of tomorrow.

The Commission represents a once in a generation opportunity to raise the status of adult vocational teaching and learning, to promote its nature and heritage in its own terms, and to develop a robust vocational model that can sit firmly alongside the academic model."

In March this year, over 150 applications to join the Commission were received from individuals with recognised expertise in teaching and learning in vocational subjects, or experience of working with employers to deliver vocational training.

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

The Commission will be supported by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, the Institute for Learning and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.