City & Guilds creates Industry Skills Board
Leading employers to shape the education and skills agenda
23 October 2014
City & Guilds has created an Industry Skills Board. Made up of leading employers and representation from the TUC, the board aims to shift the UK education and skills system so that it is more closely aligned with the needs of business.
City & Guilds is focused on bridging the gap that exists between education and employment and the Industry Skills Board will be vital in providing advice to ensure that its qualifications, services and programmes fully meet the needs of employers and support the transition from full-time education to work.
Kirstie Donnelly, UK Managing Director of City & Guilds, explains the need for the new board: ‘As skills shortages increase across many sectors, there has never been a more critical moment in time to ensure our young people are prepared for the world of work. The Industry Skills Board will influence and ensure the right reforms in apprenticeships take place and more broadly ensure the whole education skills system supports more than one choice for our young people, as well as addressing what employers really need to grow and achieve economic success.’
The need to better equip young people for the workplace is why City & Guilds has recently expanded its offer for 14-19 year olds with the launch of the City & Guilds TechBac. Designed with industry and experts from the education and skills sector, the TechBac is a new curriculum that provides learners with a professional pathway to their chosen career alongside the technical qualifications and core skills and competencies they need to progress in work.
Chaired by Andy Smyth of TUI Travel UK & Ireland, the board includes representation from employers such as Barclays, Laing O’Rourke, Nationwide, Whitbread and Microsoft UK as well as a number of employment and skills organisations.
The desire from employers to play a more active role in education curriculum design is clear. City & Guilds recently spoke to 1,000 small, medium and large businesses and the majority (54%) agreed there is a need for them to be more involved in developing qualifications to ensure they meet the needs of business. There is also consensus among employers that an overhaul of the current qualifications is needed, with just a third (35%) of those surveyed agreeing that today’s qualifications adequately prepare young people for work.
Andy Smyth, who is also a City & Guilds Trustee commented: ‘For too long, Government has expected businesses to pick up the training bill for developing young people who come to the workplace without the rounded skills needed by employers. My ambition is that the Industry Skills Board will give employers a collective voice and allow us to shape the education agenda by adopting a leadership position. Alongside working in partnership with City & Guilds to create an offer that is right for business, the board will be looking to consult with and advise Government on the future direction of our education system so that it really works in support of the UK’s employment and skills needs.’
Kirstie Donnelly added: ‘We’ve long recognised the need for greater employer engagement and interaction in education to help create a system that is more responsive to the skills needs of today’s businesses. Despite Government reforms that are putting more power in the hands of employers through programmes such as apprenticeships, there is still a big disconnect between the skills young people are learning in education and the skills demanded by employers. We hope this Industry Skills Board will support us in our focus on developing the skills that allow people to progress into a job, on the job, and onto the next job.’