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Call for Evidence: Future of the Skills System

Call for Evidence: Future of the Skills System

13th March 2019

How do you think we can build a national skills system that responds to local needs and national economic priorities? 

*** DEADLINE: 27TH MAY ***


Future of the Skills System Inquiry
Future of the Skills System steering group members

***Find the Call for Evidence Here ***

About the Inquiry

The Skills Commission, Policy Connect and Learning and Work Institute have just launched a new inquiry kindly funded by FETL, that will investigate the FE provider base, employer needs, and the implementation of national policy at a local level. The inquiry will seek to understand how recent policy changes, such as the expansion of apprenticeships, the introduction of T Levels and the devolution of the Adult Education Budget join up at a local level. By exploring variations across regions the project aims to provide guidance on developing a strategic approach to the nation’s skills policy and develop practical recommendations for the policy, commissioning and delivery of FE. The inquiry is sponsored by the Further Education Trust for Leadership and will be co-chaired by the Rt. Hon Sir John Hayes CBE MP (Conservative) and Barry Sheerman MP (Labour).

“This inquiry is a timely and much needed opportunity to explore the gap between the stated intention of our skills system and its realisation on the ground in different parts of the country. The range in the strong team of panel experts will ensure a systemic analysis and an honest view.” Dame Ruth Silver, President, Further Education Trust for Leadership

Of the inquiry, co-chair the Rt. Hon Sir John Hayes CBE MP, former Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning said: “This research is based on regional evidence sessions to explore local implementation, collaboration and experiences, avoiding a top-down Westminster-only focus. My constituency of South Holland and The Deepings is well-known for its rural industries and production, and taking evidence these areas is vital to highlight skills needs beyond that of the big-hitting cities.”

Inquiry co-chair Barry Sheerman MP, former chair of the Education Select Committee, said: “Apprenticeships and other reforms have been designed to address current challenges but the constant change is confusing for employers and providers alike. What we now need is clear vision with joined-up thinking so that all involved can work together to address both current needs and future challenges.”

Dr Fiona Aldridge, Director of Policy and Research at Learning and Work Institute said: “Significant change is underway in the learning and skills system. Each of these changes requires new ways of delivering learning and new ways of engaging people and employers. Our ambition is that this Inquiry will demonstrate how these changes have influenced the shape of our current provider base, and provide a blueprint for what a successful skills ecosystem of the future might look like.”


Skills System

As a starting point, we understand a ‘system’ to signify a coordinated approach to skills policy making and implementation.

Skills Ecosystem

A skills ecosystem goes further, and requires a sustained two way interaction and collaboration within and between stakeholders who provide FE and skills and employers who demand skilled individuals.

Steering group members 

  • Alan Cave, Chief Executive, APM UK
  • Alice Barnard, Chief Executive, Edge Foundation
  • Dr Andy Green, Professor of Comparative Social Science, UCL Institute of Education 
  • Dr Ewart Keep, Director SKOPE, University of Oxford
  • Dr Fiona Aldridge, Director for Policy and Research, Learning and Work Institute
  • Gill Alton, Chief Executive, Grimsby Institute for Further and Higher Education
  • Jasbir Jhas, Senior Adviser, LGA
  • Marguerite Ulrich, Chief Human Resources Officer, Veolia
  • Mark Dawe, Chief Executive, AELP
  • Paul Eeles, Chief Executive, Skills and Education Group
  • Paul McKean, Head of FE and Skills, Jisc
  • Simon Kelleher, Head of Education and Skills, Policy Connect
  • Smita Jamdar, Partner, Shakespeare Martineau
  • Dr Sue Pember, Director of Policy and External Relations, Holex
  • Verity Davidge, Head of Education and Skills Policy, Make UK

Instructions for Submission of Evidence

Please use the questions here to frame your response to the call for evidence, but do not feel restricted by or compelled to answer every question. The Commission welcomes all types of evidence, from data, including analysis or internal studies your organisation has carried out, to personal or organisational views on these issues. Submissions of evidence will not be published or shared with third parties. We will be asking some sensitive questions in the call for evidence and the submissions will remain anonymous unless you give the commission the right to publish your name or organisation in the report. Please provide express permission in your evidence submission. All copies of the submitted evidence and any contact details will be destroyed within a year of finishing the project.

The deadline for submission of evidence is Monday 27th May. Evidence can be submitted to For more information about the Commission or the inquiry visit or contact Maja Gustafsson, Researcher for Education and Skills on 0207 202 8583.

About the Skills Commission

The Skills Commission is an independent body made up of leaders from the education sector, the business community, and political parties. The Commission examines FE and skills policy, holds evidence-based inquiries, and produces written reports with recommendations for policymakers.

Previous reports by the Skills Commission looked at women and engineering, apprenticeships and social mobility, and lifelong learning.

About Learning and Work Institute

Learning and Work Institute (L&W) is an independent policy and research organisation dedicated to promoting lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion. We research what works, develop new ways of thinking and implement new approaches.