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Going Places, Innovation in FE & Skills, Neil Bates, Inquiry Chair, The Skills Commission, published 8th December 2016

This report is about innovations that are taking place already, and seeks to challenge existing inhibitors to further sector wide innovation. Ultimately, if the FE and skills sector is to survive and thrive, it must continue to innovate further around its core mission objectives. Policy makers, both locally and nationally, must do more to support this.

The use of independent training providers in vocational education and training – wider considerations for employers and policy makers, Gary Morris, CBE, SKOPE, University of Oxford, published 4th April 2016


This short paper looks at the way that organisations use independent training providers (ITP’s) to deliver training to their personnel. This is against a background of falling spend on vocational education and training (VET) in the workplace, countered by government policy to increasingly depend on ITP’s to deliver vocational training. The paper argues that firms often manage ITP’s poorly. It then looks at some of the areas that cause concern and which should be better understood to promote good practice and inform public policy. 

Improving Skills Utilisation in the UK – Some Reflections on What, Who and How?

SKOPE Research Paper No. 123, August 2016, 

Ewart Keep, Director of SKOPE

The paper looks at the way that the UK has focussed on the supply of skills with the expectation that this creates demand for skills. There is little evidence to support this; industry is not pressed to change its production because of the availability of more highly skilled labour. Scotland is cited as the first to question this accepted basis for skills policy and recognise the need to create policy around the demand for skills and improved economic performance. The second part of the paper examines the challenges to improve skills utilisation.