Further Education

Part of Opposition Day — [10th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 5:22 pm on 18th November 2015.

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Photo of Neil Carmichael Neil Carmichael Chair, Education Committee, Chair, Education Committee 5:22 pm, 18th November 2015

I am keen to use my influence, as Chair of the Education Committee, for a lot of things, and that is certainly one direction of travel in which I am sure we will be going.

We must ensure greater employer engagement, which can and should come through governance, and we have already seen changes bringing that about, but something else needs to happen: the education sector needs to engage more effectively and readily with the world of work. I mean not just businesses, but the professional sectors, such as the care sector. It is critical that we know how many people there are with the types of skills that are needed. We need to know more about how the labour market works, and the education system needs to know more about how skills and the labour market are developing. That interface is crucial, and I see it coming through in various changes in the FE sector.

We have a good example of that in my constituency, where Stroud and Filton colleges merged to create an innovative college structure with characteristics that colleges need to think about when going through the area review. The first characteristic is precise, strong and courageous leadership. It is critical that we articulate a vision about where our colleges should go, and that is best done by a leadership with the capacity and willingness to do exactly that.