World’s first University Chair in Further Education speaks to Tom Bewick for #SkillsWorld

January 13, 2020

On SkillsWorld this week, Tom Bewick speaks to Professor Martin Doel OBE CBE of University College London.

Many listeners will be familiar with Martin’s work when he was chief executive of the Association of Colleges — a role he held between 2008 and 2015.

Tom caught up with Martin before he gave a major keynote speech to the Federation of Awarding Bodies annual conference in October 2019.

During the podcast interview, Professor Doel confides:

“There were times at the AOC when it felt like we were there to make the world less worse…. It was at the time of the worst financial entrenchment in our nation’s [peacetime] history, since the mid-1930s. Despite this, by the time I walked away from it in 2015, the Spending Review had help stabilise the sector, albeit at a funding level that is too low.”

Looking ahead to the challenges of FE and technical education, he says:

“We ensured a focus on technical and professional education that had not been in the system hitherto…. There will be more money and attention on FE in the future…. [But] there will need to be a more interventionist approach to skills development because of external factors like Brexit, and the shift from fixed assets in the economy to more intangible assets…. In a post-market economy in FE, you do need to liberate both innovation and enterprise at the delivery level.”

You can listen to the full interview here.