Skills Commission Launches Major Inquiry into Building a World-Class Skills System by 2030

Policy Connect and the Skills Commission have launched a major new inquiry, Skills 2030 – A World-class Skills System. Co-chaired by Barry Sheerman MP and Sir John Hayes MP, the inquiry will set out how to deliver a world-class skills system in England by the end of the next Parliament.

The Skills Commission inquiry will bring together leading figures from across the skills sector, including key stakeholders in Further Education, Higher Education, skills policy, industry, and academia.

The following experts are joining the inquiry’s steering group:

  • Hayley Pells, Policy and Public Affairs Lead, The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI)
  • Robin Ghurbhurun, UK Managing Director, FE, skills, and FE/HE advice and training, Jisc
  • Professor Keith McLay, Provost - Learning and Teaching, University of Derby
  • Karen Green, Chief People and Skills Officer, High Value Manufacturing Catapult
  • David Morgan, Chief Executive, Career Development Institute (CDI)
  • Gemma Gathercole, Strategic Engagement Lead, ACCA Global
  • Joe Fitzsimons, Policy Manager, ACCA Global
  • Peter Mayhew-Smith, CEO/Group Principal, South Thames Colleges Group
  • Lucy McLeod, Deputy CEO, East Kent Colleges Group
  • Graham Hasting-Evans, Chief Executive, NOCN Group
  • Dr Benjamin Silverstone, Director of WMG Skills Centre, Warwick Manufacturing Group

Over the course of this inquiry, the Commission will develop a holistic set of recommendations for the next government to reform the skills system. It aims to build cross-party consensus on an ambitious agenda to deliver the skills system England needs. The Commission will explore themes including: devolution and skills policy; lifelong learning; a strategic government approach to skills; qualifications and standards; local collaboration; and a system that works for all learners.

To begin, the inquiry is inviting the public to share insights through an open call for evidenceIn the next few months, the inquiry will gather evidence through two expert evidence sessions. The final report will be published in Spring 2024, to shape the skills agenda ahead of the general election.

The lead researcher and inquiry manager Peter Wilson (Senior Researcher at Policy Connect) explained:

“We face huge challenges – from boosting productivity to tackling social immobility. Now is the time for ambitious, cross-party thinking on England’s skills system. The new Skills 2030 inquiry will set out policy recommendations to deliver a truly world-leading skills system.”

Robin Ghurbhurun said:

“I am delighted to be joining this Skills Commission during a time of accelerated digital transformation across society and industry, noting its inherent impact on skills and employability for work.  In a post-pandemic, economically challenged Britain our citizens require access to an ambitious, progressive and adaptive tertiary skills system. This welcomed Commission critically aims to galvanise key stakeholders to shape recommendations and policies for a sustainable skills system. An ecosystem capable of lifting all citizens, with cross-party, cross-government, education, industry, and regional authority support to drive the UK’s economic recovery, growth, well-being and prosperity.”  

Hayley Pells said:

"In the dynamic landscape of the automotive sector, a robust skills system is critical for sustained innovation and excellence. Our commitment goes beyond vehicles and technology—it's about empowering every individual to shape the future. With this inquiry, we are not just gearing up for change, we are championing a revolution in skills and training. Let's ensure no talent ever gets left at the starting line."

Professor Keith McLay said: 

“I am delighted to be a part of the inquiry’s steering group, working collaboratively with industry experts to develop plans for a vital, future-focused national skills system. Opening the doors to inclusive lifelong learning is imperative and this inquiry is a major step forward in exploring and providing recommendations to address the nation’s skills requirements, drive forward productivity and develop a pipeline of talent that can meet the needs of our key industries.”

To find out more about the Skills Commission and the new inquiry, please contact peter.wilson [at] (peter[dot]wilson[at]policyconnect[dot]org[dot]uk).

Notes to editors

About Policy Connect

Policy Connect is a cross-party think tank with five main policy pillars: Education and Skills; Industry, Technology & Innovation; Sustainability, Health; and Accessibility.  

We support parliamentary groups, forums and commissions for which Policy Connect provides the secretariat and delivers impactful policy research and event programmes.  Our collaboration with parliamentarians through these groups allows us to inform public policy in Westminster and Whitehall.  We are a social enterprise and are funded by a combination of regular annual membership subscriptions and time-limited sponsorships. 

We are proud to be a Disability Confident and London Living Wage employer, and a member of Social Enterprise UK. 

About the Skills Commission

The Skills Commission is an independent body comprising leading figures from across the education sector, industry and the major political parties. It conducts research inquiries into important issues in skills, training and further education policy.