Radical, long-term education and skills reforms and investment is needed to address current and future skills gaps and transform life chances for every adult. The Independent Commission on the College of the Future calls for colleges to be placed front and centre of those reforms across the UK’s four nations in its new report.
Covid-19 consequences, leaving the EU, climate change and the fourth industrial revolution means that more part-time, adult and vocational education will be needed across the UK to prioritise business needs and shifts in the labour market. Radical change is needed in education and skills
policies and systems so that colleges can encourage people to train, upskill or acquire skills throughout their lives for the jobs of tomorrow.
The UK-wide report sets out eleven recommendations for reform and renewal of the college systems, and the three key points they call for are:
- Upskilling people across the UK by making it possible for everyone to learn throughout their lives, whatever route they choose to take – with a statutory right to lifelong learning and grants and loans that allow college students to live well whilst studying.
- Backing business, driving innovation and addressing skills gaps by establishing a unique service for employers at their local colleges for training and upskilling both future and current employees and innovation support, including through “employer hubs”.
- Overhaul, rebalance and integrate the whole post-16 education and skills system in each nation with a 10-year strategy for how colleges will deliver what each nation’s economy and society needs, redressing funding inequity where it exists.
The Commission started by asking what we want and need from colleges in 2030 and how to get there. The report sets out the UK-wide recommendations and will be followed later this year by reports for each of the four nations, setting out nation-specific recommendations in further detail. Get in touch with Commission Director, Lewis Cooper, to discuss your involvement.
About the Commission: Launched in Spring 2019, the Independent Commission was commissioned by the Four Nations College Alliance – which brings together college leaders, their representative bodies and senior government officials from across the four nations of the UK. The Commission is made up of a wide range of experts, representing college leaders, employer groups, trade unions, student voice and academia. They have held roundtable and workshop events with a broad range of individuals and organisations across the UK, supported by an expert panel