City & Guilds, AoC and AELP partnering to form the Future Skills Coalition

A Skills and Productivity vision for the Future

19 October 2022

In recent years, there have been huge shocks that have rocked the stability of the labour market from changes in trade relationships and skills supply following the EU referendum, a global pandemic, leadership changes and conflict in Europe. These compounded with a significant underinvestment in skills and a 50% reduction in adults participating in education and skills training means that our ability to compete on the world stage now and in the future, is severely compromised. 

We now have c.1.3 million unfilled job vacancies across the UK and employers struggling to compete in a labour market starved of the skills needed to complete the recovery. The UK economy can simply not afford to ignore this situation and the challenges that poor engagement with skills education present. Today, presents a once in a generation opportunity to create a step change that is free of political cycles and whims – rather it is about creating a sustained model for future skills development and a national strategy for local growth. Stemming ten years underinvestment with a ten year commitment to sustain skills for the future.

This aim is far bigger than any one organisation, sector, country or Government – it is about an endeavour that sees humanity flourishing in the modern age and skills and education playing their part to the many societal, economic and civic challenges we all face.

To this end, as leaders of skills and education provision, we have formed a new coalition that seeks to put the future of skills first.  As founding partners of the Future Skills Coalition; Association of Colleges (AoC), Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) and City & Guilds, together offer a unique opportunity to combine expertise and offer truly aligned thinking and action covering learning and accreditation services needed by all regions and employers across multiple sectors.

The essence of this coalition coming together as the central campaign partners, is to drive three central policy elements

- a national strategy supporting local, inclusive growth; 

- a right to lifelong learning free from restrictive constraints; 

- and fair, accessible and effective funding

and with the aim of engaging with major employers and other key stakeholders (third sector CEOs etc) who can support our work.   

Whilst, vocational and further education has been receiving increased focus from politicians and policymakers in recent years, it has not received coordinated nor sustained funding to work alongside wider and connected policy agendas, including through the implementation of the Skills for Jobs White Paper and subsequent Post 16 Education and Skills Act. Without joining up important policy and economic opportunities, we risk losing the chance to create the conditions required for lifelong learning and in turn, lifelong employability for people as they inevitably retrain and reskill as required by the demands of changing careers.

The Future Skills Coalition will also look to act as a catalyst for engagement with wider networks across employers, industry bodies and civil society.  We are calling others to join us in generating a thoughtful and impactful response to the challenges we all face. We will be seeking to facilitate conversation through a series of events over 2022/2023 initially, dedicated to reimagining the future, harnessing what is the best for education and skills and bringing as many partners to the table that are willing to shape that future together. We will listen to supplier and employer voices and work towards a better vision for the UK ‘s labour market.

This vision will be sighted towards a robust technical and vocational education culture in the UK that can attract sufficient coordination, investment and action to ensure a sustained impact on people, places and the economy.  

The opportunity now is to build coordinated effort between key organisations – to speak with a united voice, work in a systematic manner and share insights and intelligence to create effective long term solutions.

Ultimately, this is about ensuring people are able to access the education and training they need throughout their lives; working with employers to drive greater productivity; and working across the private, public and third sectors to build healthier, greener, more cohesive places.

To register your interest in being a part of the coalition please email