OECD appoints Dr Anthony Mann its senior policy advisor for vocational education and adult learning

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has appointed Education and Employers’ Director of Research and Policy, Dr Anthony Mann as its Senior Policy Advisor for Vocational Education and Adult Learning. The OECD member countries span the globe, from North and South America to Europe and Asia-Pacific. They include many of the world’s most advanced economies but also emerging nations like Mexico, Chile and Turkey and work closely with the People’s Republic of China, India and Brazil and the developing economies in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Charity is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Elnaz Kashefpakdel as its Head of Research. Her team will be working with several professors and associates from other leading UK universities, research organisations and international experts who will join a new Advisory Council, of which Anthony will be a member.

Anthony joined the charity at its creation in 2009 at a time when research into employer engagement in education was widely seen as unfit for purpose. Since then he and the charity, founded and led by Chief Executive Nick Chambers, have worked to bring together scholars to significantly improve understanding of education and employer impacts on young people and optimal modes of delivery. Among Anthony’s many publications are the first collection of research essays on the subject with Dr Julian Stanley (University of Manchester) and Professor Louise Archer (Kings’ College London) and the first UK quantitative analyses (with economist Chris Percy) of adult wage premiums linked to teenage participation in school-mediated employer engagement.

Finding from the research which are frequently quoted include:

* Statistically there is ‘nothing in common’ between the career aspirations of young people and labour market demand (2013)

* Young people who take part in careers activities such as jobs fairs and job shadowing are more positive about schooling and its helpfulness in adulthood (2016, 2017)

* The more young people encounter employers whilst in school (4 of more often being cited), the more they earn and the lower their chances of becoming NEET as young adults (2013, 2016, 2017)

* Structural changes in the operation of the youth labour market are making employer engagement more important for young people (2015, 2016)

* Independent schools have extensive links with employers and use those ties to give students advantages in their transitions out of school e.g. university admissions (2012, 2014, 2016)

* Evidence suggests that employment gains are more due to enhanced social capital and career knowledge than enhanced employability skills (2015)

* Those young people who have most to gain from employer engagement currently have least access to it (2017)

The studies can all be accessed here.

Making research accessible

In addition to undertaking its own research, an early priority of the charity was to make high quality robust research produced by academics around the world easily accessible to practitioners, employers and policy-makers. Hosting popular seminars and international conferences on the subject, a strong community of interest brings new opportunities to share and debate insights from robust and reliable evidence. To make it easy to find good quality research to inform decision-making in the field, a unique, easily searchable online library of resources was launched in 2010. The library is used by thousands of colleagues in the UK and internationally every year. This collaborative approach has underpinned the charity’s commitment to public benefit and is set to continue. Anthony and his research colleagues have also been instrumental in ensuring that the charity’s innovative delivery programme, Inspiring the Future, has been developed in light of best available evidence.

Advisory Council

Anthony’s new role is based in Paris and he will move there with his family in late May. He will stay in touch with charity, serving on the new Advisory Council bringing together leading scholars from the field to support the charity’s ongoing commitment to building understanding of employer engagement and making insights from research easily accessible.

Dr Elnaz Kashefpakdel

The charity is delighted to announce that Dr Elnaz Kashefpakdel has been appointed its Head of Research. Joining the charity in 2012, Elnaz has played a key role in many of its most important publications. A trained quantitative analyst, Elnaz’s publications include the first UK analysis of adult wage premiums linked to careers talks using longitudinal databases and the first analysis of PISA data demonstrating links between participation in careers events like job fairs and more positive attitudes towards schooling. She will be supported in the role by two long-term collaborators with the charity, Prue Huddleston and Christian Percy. As long-serving academic leader at the University of Warwick’s Centre for Education and Industry, Emeritus Professor Prue Huddleston brings significant experience of research into work-related learning and employer engagement. Economist and former Department for Education policy official Chris Percy worked with Anthony and Elnaz on important quantitative studies demonstrating employment outcomes linked to teenage employer engagement and analysis of the costs and impacts of different delivery systems. Elnaz and her team will also be working with several academics and associates from other leading UK universities and research organisations who will also be joining the Advisory Council.


The charity’s research and approaches to delivery has attracted international interest from over 35 countries as diverse as Australia, Bangladesh, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Ghana, India, Japan, South Korea to the UAE, Uganda, United States and Zambia. Education and Employers is currently working with several international partners to share its technology and practical experience of launching free programmes for schools in the UK.

The OECD’s Director of Education and Skills, Andreas Schleicher said: “I have long been impressed by the work of Education and Employers. Not only has the charity been responsible for genuinely ground breaking research evidencing the long-term economic impact of employers working with schools, they have worked exceptionally hard to help policy makers and practitioners make sense of the change and then change practice for the better. Anthony has been at the heart of this work and we are delighted to see him joining the OECD and I am looking forward to continuing and developing our work with the Education and Employers Charity.”

David Cruickshank, Chair of Trustees at the charity said: “Anthony can be very proud of the legacy he has built. The charity has achieved much in helping us to understand why it is so important for schools and employers to work closely together. The research has been very influential on government, but there is still much to do and we are delighted to welcome Elnaz to her new role. Our charity remains fully committed to ensuring that our work is informed by the highest quality research, disseminating findings to all who can make use of them.”

Dr Anthony Mann said: “Only the OECD could have taken me away from my work at Education and Employers. The charity has invested heavily in research and it has paid real dividends. We know so much more now than we did in 2009: about the economic and educational benefits of employer engagement and how it can be delivered as effectively, efficiently and equitably as possible. All research is by its nature collaborative and I thank all those who I have worked with over the years and look forward to staying in touch with the charity and seeing new, important work from the exceptionally strong research team. I am particularly pleased to see Elnaz Kashefpakdel, who has achieved so much since joining the charity as part-time research assistant five years ago, become Head of Research. It is testament to the exceptional ability of a fine researcher.”

Nick Chambers, Chief Executive of the charity said: “Anthony’s contribution to the charity has been immense. I first met him in 2007 and knew at once that we would be the perfect person to lead the charity’s research and policy work. Not only has he done this incredibly successfully but he has also played a major role in the wider work of the charity. He has been an incredibly hard working, dedicated and loyal colleague and friend. He has been long-time admirer of the work of the OECD’s Education Directorate and we were delighted to have been asked to present our work to their education policy committee last year. I wish him every success is his new role at the OECD and am really pleased that he has agreed to join the Advisory Council and will be keeping in regular contact with us.”

Dr Elnaz Kashefpakdel said: “Education and Employers has created an admirable reputation for itself as an organization that can be trusted to produce reliable and accessible research findings which are relevant to the work of practitioners and policy makers. We are determined to continue that approach with a range of exciting projects lined up for the next twelve months.”

Professor Prue Huddleston said: “Education and Employers have worked hard to engage scholars working in the field and disseminate reliable and relevant research findings through their events and website. In their own work, they have adopted robust research methodologies to identify and understand change. These are admirable approaches which I look forward to supporting.”

The Education and Employers charity is committed to making the best quality research on employer engagement in education easily available:

* Follow the research team on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Edu_EResearch

* Sign up to the free research e-bulletin: http://inspiringthefuture.us12.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=6342dcb3ecda43240c6137c9a&id=2a7dc8d67d

* Visit the unique research library: https://www.educationandemployers.org/research-type/research-library/