Lifelong Learning UK
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Employers and colleges unite to drive up UK skills - New alliance set to deliver Leitch vision

A new alliance aimed at bringing employers and colleges closer together to deliver more economically valuable skills launches today.

The alliance brings together employers, college principals, and executives from the AoC, the Sector Skills Councils and the Sector Skills Development Agency, which supports and funds the SSCs.

It is the first time the demand and supply sides of education and training have come together in this way to construct and deliver learning and qualifications relevant to the world of work.

The move has been sparked by the Leitch Review of Skills which called for the to commit to becoming a world leader in skills by 2020.

David Hunter, CEO of Lifelong Learning and chair of the new AoC/SfBn group said: “For too long the supply and demand sides of the education and training system have worked in silos, but this alliance is determined to cut through the red-tape and rise to the challenge of delivering the Leitch vision.”

Today the partners issued a joint statement outlining their common ground and setting out their action plan for “real and substantial change” across the skills agenda. Their remit includes:

  •  Jointly developing, promoting and increasing the availability of flexible and bite-sized learning, as well as full qualifications, to meet the needs of employers and individual learners
  • Ensuring a flexible, modular-based credit and qualifications framework that can adapt to and support different models of learning and skills training
  • Encouraging employers and colleges to engage with the skills agenda
  • Working together to reduce funding barriers and bureaucracy
  • Combining the expertise and influence of the AoC and the SfBn to shape policy and form an effective partnership to successfully deliver the skills agenda

Published in December 2006, the Leitch Review placed the emphasis on “economically valuable skills” to drive up productivity in a fiercely competitive global market. It said that wherever possible, skills should be portable, demand-led, adaptable to future market needs, and based on existing, but simpler and less bureaucratic structures.




Mr Hunter said: “You can’t have a world-class workforce without world-class trainers and this is what the alliance is about: bringing the supply and demand sides together to achieve world-class skills through shared action.”

The Alliance now intends to lobby MPs, ministers and sector agencies to encourage support for and investment in its action plan.

Mark Fisher, chief executive of the SSDA, said: “The Alliance is a much-needed step forward. The SSCs are uniquely placed to understand the needs of employers in their sectors and the FE colleges are central to meeting their demands.”

Dr John Brennan, AoC Chief Executive, said: “AoC is delighted to work with SSDA and SSCs to launch this new collaboration. We believe that this group will form the nucleus for a new, stronger working relationship between colleges and employers.”

“It is vitally important that colleges work closely with the Skills for Business Network to ensure that we deliver what employers need, so that the nation has the skills required to be competitive.”



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