Initial statement in response to the FE White Paper

The Federation welcomes the publication of the Skills for Jobs White Paper

Tom Bewick, Chief Executive, said:

“The narrative helps frame a direction of travel for how the skills sector will evolve and need to respond post-Covid, particularly as we build a more dynamic economy based on higher levels of productivity and skills.”

“We also note the government’s interim response to the Augar Review. For that reason, this White Paper is perhaps not quite as comprehensive as it could have been in terms of covering the range of transformational reforms of post-compulsory tertiary education that the review panel envisaged. Flexible loans, for example, won’t kick in until after the next general election. Overall, what has been announced today is very much a restatement of what has already been agreed — a useful ‘work in progress’.”

“The Lifetime Skills Guarantee at Level 3 is very welcome, but it is currently too narrow in scope. We need to see a much wider array of qualifications and flexible credentials being made available at all levels to help meet the needs of both employers and learners. The government’s current approach to reform of post-16 is one of restricting learner choice; as well as adversely affecting provider flexibility to meet the needs of some of the most disadvantaged groups in our society. The regulator, Ofqual, made a similar set of points only this week.”

“We look forward to the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review for the more “revolutionary” aspects of what was promised previously, in terms of better supporting individuals who will experience several career changes throughout their lives in future. We’re not quite there yet with this White paper, as it falls quite a bit short of helping to achieve a more cradle to grave, universalist, approach to lifelong learning.”

Ends.

You can view the FE White Paper here.