A new independent commission has been launched today (28 Mar) to set out a new vision for colleges in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The Independent Commission on the College of the Future will be chaired by Sir Ian Diamond – who notably led a review which saw the overhaul of Welsh higher education funding and the introduction of maintenance grants to cover costs for full-time and part-time students.
The commission also features prominent names from industry, education, the media and the trade union movement, as well as national and international experts from across the four nations of the UK.
The Commission brings together leading figures from business and the trade unions as well as national and international experts and key stakeholders from across the four nations of the UK. Together, they will shape and inform our thinking and the wider public policy debate.
- Sir Ian Diamond (Chair) - Chair, Edinburgh College Management Board
- Peter Cheese - Chief Executive, CIPD
- Audrey Cumberford MBE FRSE - Principal and Chief Executive, Edinburgh College
- Dr Stephen Farry - Former Minister for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland
- Matthew Fell - Chief UK Policy Director, CBI
- Lesley Giles - Director, Work Foundation
- Professor Ellen Hazelkorn - Joint Managing Partner, BH Associates Education Consultants Ireland
- Rob Humphreys CBE FLSW - Council member, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
- David Jones OBE DL - Chief Executive, Coleg Cambria
- Professor Ewart Keep - Director, SKOPE, Oxford University
- Shakira Martin - President, NUS
- Marie-Thérèse McGivern - Principal and Chief Executive, Belfast Metropolitan College
- Steph McGovern - BBC Broadcaster
- Amanda Melton - Principal and Chief Executive, Nelson and Colne College
- Paul Nowak - Deputy General Secretary, TUC
- Nora Senior CBE - Chair, Weber Shandwick, and Chair of Scottish Government’s Enterprise and Skills Board
Purpose of the Commission
From demographic change, to technological revolution, from the changing demands of the labour market, to evolving attitudes and expectations of individuals – there are seismic shifts happening across the UK.
If we are to meet these challenges, then colleges have a critical role to play. That is why the commission will be working with partners to answer the question – what does the college of the future look like?
The Independent Commission on the College of the Future is supported by key organisations from across the FE and skills sector, including the Association of Colleges, Colleges Scotland, Colleges Wales, the colleges in Northern Ireland, City & Guilds, the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL), Jisc, NCFE, NOCN and Pearson.
The Commission will meet five times throughout the year and will be supported by an expert panel who will also feed into the process. The Commission will hold a range of roundtable and workshop events with a broad range of stakeholders across the UK throughout the year and will hold a number of public events. The Commission will be producing a final report with clear recommendations to be published in Spring 2020.
“Colleges are a central part of our education systems right across the UK. But with so many critical challenges facing us, nationally and internationally – from changes in technology, aspirations, jobs and climate, to name just a few – colleges must take an ever more central place in public policy, as they are critically important for people and communities.
“The Independent Commission brings together a formidable team of experts and leaders to ask the fundamental questions about the role and place of colleges across all four corners of the UK. We will be putting forward clear recommendations, as we seek to ensure that colleges are able to play the critical role that they must – so that people have the right opportunities to get on in life, that no community is left behind, and that governments across the UK are able to meet the challenges of the future.”
“The foundations for establishing the Commission were firmly grounded in a collective pride across our sector in the important and pivotal role that colleges play in local communities and regions across the UK. We also share an ambition to be bold and innovative, shaping a sector that is truly fit for the future - and the challenges and opportunities that we will undoubtedly face. The Commission has an exciting opportunity to create and articulate a powerful vision for the ‘college of the future’. “
“Our colleges deliver opportunities and inclusion, and are often best placed to address the economic and social challenges faced by the nations and regions of the UK. They are central to our future.”
“In a changing world of work, skills matter more than ever. That means the UK’s colleges and further education sector have a vital role to play in equipping students with the skills, knowledge, and capabilities to succeed. The CBI is pleased to be part of this Commission and looks forward to contributing to this important piece of work.”
"At Pearson, we know that colleges are a central part of our education systems, right across the UK. And with rapid changes in technology, careers, demography, business ecosystems and so much more besides, this Independent Commission has a key role to play in setting out a vision which ensures that the colleges of the future continues to play a key role in responding to these challenges - for young people and adults throughout their educational journey - providing academic, technical and applied general pathways to continue to support social and economic growth for a diverse range of learners, communities and more broadly for UK PLC."
The Commission is supported by an expert panel, which is chaired by:
- Amanda Melton, Principal and Chief Executive, Nelson and Colne College, together with
- Audrey Cumberford, Principal and Chief Executive, Edinburgh College;
- Stephen Evans, Chief Executive, Learning and Work Foundation;
- Paul Feldman, Chief Executive, Jisc;
- Kathleen Henehan, Research and Policy Analyst, Resolution Foundation;
- David Jones OBE DL, Chief Executive at Coleg Cambria;
- Marie-Thérèse McGivern, Principal and Chief Executive at Belfast Metropolitan College; and
- Anja Meierkord, Labour Market Economist, OECD (Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs).