Event

Westminster Higher Education Forum - Reforming Higher Technical Education

 

Key areas for discussion:

  • the key reforms - what will be needed from government, regulation, and stakeholders to achieve the strategic policy aims for improving the provision of higher technical education at levels 4 and 5:
    • quality - and ensuring that higher technical qualifications meet employer needs, and the way forward for the design and use of the new Government-backed quality mark scheme
    • standards - priorities for the Government’s work with Ofsted and the Office for Students in ensuring consistently high standards in the provision of higher technical courses
    • meeting employer needs - looking at the newly-approved higher technical qualifications in digital fields, health, sciences and construction - and further options going forward
    • marketing - strategies for raising the profile, awareness and understanding of higher technical education courses amongst prospective students and employers
  • implementation - how a joined-up system can be developed between technical education and industry that:
    • clearly communicates the value of individual HTQs
    • supports learner progression
    • earns the trust of employers
  • awareness and uptake - following concern over low levels of take-up of HTQs, assessing:
    • progress so far with the public awareness campaign announced by the DfE
    • next steps for improving the profile of higher technical education
  • international best practice - discussing how insights from HTE systems in other countries where take-up is higher inform ways to improve HTQs in this country
    • with a contribution from Dr Anthony Mann, Head, VET and Adult Learning Team, OECD
  • support and staffing - looking at funding and what further measures will be needed by HTE providers including qualified, trained staff to provide the outcomes needed by students and employers
  • innovation in delivery - lessons that the sector can learn from provision of HTE during the COVID-19 pandemic and how virtual or blended learning might be incorporated into future practice
  • regional variation - following concern over cold spots in HTE provision:
    • what is the current state of play in addressing geographical inequalities, and strategies for addressing outstanding issues
    • the potential impact of policy measures, such as the announced eight new Institutes of Technology aimed at improving accessibility across England to high quality vocational education
  • regulation - priorities for effective regulation that reflects the hands-on nature of HTE, and discussing progress following the return to regular, full inspections in January 2021
  • employment - how to maximise the opportunities for HTE graduates:
    • to be able to enter high quality technical jobs that fill the skills gaps in the labour market
    • particularly in a challenging economic environment and with increased unemployment in the wake of the pandemic
  • employer involvement:
    • how to strengthen collaboration and information sharing between employers and providers
    • including on-the-job experience that accurately reflects the practical skills needed by industry and individual employers
  • skills priorities - assessing:
    • how well HTE is being geared to serve key skill needs both for economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic and for the longer term
    • implications for the range of courses and qualifications, and the geographic spread of provision into the future