One Nation Skills Taskforce Interim Report: Driving up standards in FE colleges

21 May 2013

Stephen TwiggStephen Twigg MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, and Chuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, today launched the Skills Taskforce interim report.

Please click here to read the report.
 
The Taskforce finds that Further Education colleges are crucial to developing a high quality skills system but, in order to play their part, standards in colleges must be raised. So Labour will take action to improve FE teaching:
 
•      All new FE teachers will be required to have at least level 2 (GCSE A*-C) English and Maths;
•     and we will work with business and FE to ensure all vocational teachers spend time every year in industry to keep their skills and experience fresh.
 
Chaired by Professor Chris Husbands, Director of the Institute of Education, and comprising business and education experts, the Skills Taskforce identifies major problems in our skills system today, including: an increasingly fragmented education system; low levels of employer involvement in the skills system; the lack of high quality apprenticeships; and poor quality advice to navigate the transition between education and work.
 
Stephen Twigg said:
 
“While some colleges do a brilliant job, Labour is unapologetic in seeking higher standards in vocational education and training. We would be relentless in driving up the quality of teaching in Further Education, particularly in English and Maths, where we would expect all college teachers to have a minimum of Level 2, the equivalent of GCSE A*- C.

“This Government has failed to ensure that young people have high quality vocational options and can gain the skills they need. Labour’s Tech Bacc would ensure young people are able to study rigorous courses accredited by employers, alongside English and Maths and a work experience placement.
 
“I welcome the report of Labour’s Skills Taskforce which has identified the big challenges in our skills system that need to be overcome for a strong, competitive economy.
 
Chuka Umunna said:

 
“FE colleges have a crucial role to play in helping young people get the skills and qualifications they need for the world of work. That’s why we want the standard of teaching in colleges to be the best it can be, and why all college teachers should be expected to have a minimum of GCSE English and Maths.
 
“We also need to see colleges more closely integrated with the world of work, business and industry. Manufacturing organisation the EEF has recommended to us that FE teachers should spend time each year gaining first hand experience in the workplace so teaching can be better aligned to business needs. This is something which deserves support and we will be looking closely and how this can be implemented.”
 
“Through our One Nation Skills Taskforce Labour is working with employers on how we can create a skills system which meets the needs of businesses and which leaves no one behind.”
 
Professor Chris Husbands, Director of the Institute of Education, said:
 
“Skills matter. The twenty-first century will make enormous demands on levels of skill as economies change:  we must get our skills policy and our skills infrastructure right if we are to prepare our economy for the future.  But more than this, getting skills right matters for workers and citizens too.
 
“This is the interim report of the Skills Taskforce. We have been listening hard to employers, educators, trades unions and stakeholder organisations across the board to highlight the key issues we need to get right.  We've come across fantastic practice and great ideas, but we have also come up against some tough and entrenched problems.     
 
“In the next stage of our work we will continue to listen hard as we firm up policy recommendations. This is a hugely important agenda which is critical to all our futures.”