Five years of CSD

For five years, the Centre for Skills Development has been influencing policy practice in skills training and providing practical solutions around the world

24 May 2013 / Be the first to comment

It has been five years since the City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development (CSD) launched its first international research project, ‘Skills Development: Attitudes and Perceptions’. Interviewing 2000 employers and practitioners across nine countries, the project explored the skills training issues faced by employers and policy makers around the world. It was to be the first in a long line of studies that have cemented CSD’s reputation for using research to inform policy practice in skills worldwide.

‘When it first opened, CSD had three goals,’ says Leon Clarke, Head of CSD. ‘Our first was to use evidence to influence and improve skills policy and practice. Secondly, we wanted to address key issues and challenges faced by the sector and to provide relevant, practical, evidence-based solutions. Lastly, we wanted to test our research findings through skills development projects and create models of good practice.’

Taking on challenges

Using those goals, CSD has used the past five years to dive into challenging new subjects areas and places in the world. Just some of the various projects they have embarked on are listed below:

  • In September 2009, it evaluated the impact on young people and businesses of Business in the Community’s Work Inspiration programme, which seeks to improve the first experience of work for over half a million 14-19 year olds every year.

  • In 2010, CSD conducted a series of focus groups, surveys and one-to-one interviews with young people in England, South Africa and the Netherlands to explore the poor perception of vocational education among people aged 14-20.

  • By 2011, the former executive director of the government of Ghana’s Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Dan Baffour was working with CSD to improve the perception of vocational education in Ghana. The report went on to inform strategy in Ghana for improving vocational education and training.

  • In South Africa, CSD conducted an evaluation of the impact of the Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) Entrepreneurship Academy Programme, which teaches young people the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to pursue a new business venture.

  • Roots to Work saw CSD working in partnership with Capital Growth in 2012 to demonstrate the skills development benefits of community food growing and urban agriculture projects.

  • In the same year, UNESCO brought together experts and policy makers to discover why many young people around the world – especially the disadvantaged – are leaving school without the skills they need to thrive in society.

Looking to the future

This year, the CSD laid out its case for a new educational system that prioritises skills training. It continues to influence the debate on how to improve the quality of teaching and learning and has been highly commended by The Commission for Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning in the Institute of Learning.

Now, CSD is looking towards the future. ‘We’ve had five successful years and now is a good point at which to review our aims and objectives and to decide our future priorities,’ says Leon. ‘It’s clear that we will retain our focus on improving quality within vocational education and training. We now need to focus on testing our research findings and creating models of good practice, which can feed into our products and services.’

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Our research reveals that three quarters of young people demand skills-based training to achieve their ambitions Read full research article