One of the many headed problems that the hydra of FE has is to do with the language that it uses and is used about it. There are plenty of debates about what terms mean, such as: professionalism (dual or not?), skills (pre-entry, basic, or employability), institutions (too many to mention) and roles (ditto) - all of them snapping with their many teeth for whoever dares address them. So, it is with some trepidation that I reflect on the language of FE itself…
The ongoing need for developing not just higher level vocational qualifications and training, but also a way of providing that need is advanced by the new industrial strategy proposal. But responses to the strategy (albeit a Green Paper) already show the underwhelming response to what could have been a new vision of how skills are developed in workplaces, in colleges, and how they support individuals and communities in all phase of life. And, perhaps more to the point, how such a vision of skill formation will benefit a low productivity economy seeking to enter new trade agreements. If we get it wrong we will need to import such skills, an irony too great to not note.
This article is written by Paul Hager, Emeritus Professor, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia and was developed from conversations I had with Paul on the Reimagining FE conference at Birmingham City University on 29th June, 2016. It is with great pleasure that I would like to share Paul’s work with an English FE audience.
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