OECD’s Skills Beyond School Project: Reflections on the Position in England

This seminar focused on the success of the Skills Beyond School project in England.

Abstract: Across the world’s most developed economies, countries are looking beyond secondary school to more advanced qualifications to provide the skills needed in many of the fastest-growing technical and professional jobs. The OECD project, Skills Beyond School, reviews policy and practice in post secondary vocational education and training in a number of OECD countries with a view to determining its fitness for purpose. Policy issues that are examined include: the funding and governance models best suited to ensuring responsiveness to labour market needs, innovation and quality; how providers can become more responsive to employers; and how equality in access can be ensured. England has taken part in a full country review. This report allows us to step back and consider the landscape of vocational provision at Level 3+ and particularly beyond.

The seminar began by considering what “post-secondary VET” means in the English context. A discussion was held about the under-developed nature of provision at QCF levels 3, 4 and 5 with significant sectoral variations regarding how these levels are understood/treated. The twin policies of increasing the number of apprentices at higher levels and employer ownership were examined in light of the analysis, and the issues we face regarding progression.

Biography: Andrew has over 20 years experience as a researcher and consultant working at local and national levels in the UK and with EU bodies. He prepared the country background report for England for the OECD Skills beyond School project. He is currently a High Level Expert with the project team delivering European Social Fund support to apprenticeship and traineeship schemes on behalf of DG Employment at the European Commission and made the keynote speech at the launch of the support service in Brussels in early June. He is currently a member of the UK Education and Employers Taskforce Research Group and an Associate of the UK Higher Education Academy. He is also a member of the UK ECVET Expert team and is acting as the expert on quality criteria for the development of transnational mobility activities for disadvantaged young and youth adults for the ESF Transnational Learning Network on Mobility. He has also been an Associate Fellow at the University of Warwick’s Centre for Education and Industry, and a Visiting Fellow with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. He was educated at Cambridge and the London School of Economics. He has written numerous reports and is co-author of two books on the UK skills and enterprise systems.