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3rd July 2015

The new ‘Guide to the Skills System’ publication is being launched to over 140 guests, including more than 30 Parliamentarians, in the House of Lords on Monday 3rd July at 12.30pm.

Read the full story on the Skills Commission's website here.

The Guide comes from the Skills Commission, a Policy Connect group, with ten years in researching skills and further education to help form crucial policies.

The Commission warns that unless policymakers are able to view the skills system holistically we will not be able to build the skills system our industries and enterprises need and the public deserves. This is because, with the ageing population in the UK, it is important to address how policy will affect the skills market for the future.

How the labour market is likely to look over the next decade

Given it has not had the prominence it deserves, the Skills Commission is seeking to place FE and skills centre stage in this Parliament. This bite-size document makes the skills system digestible, accessible and will aid MPs in better engaging with policy over the course of Parliament. It will assist them to make the best possible policy decisions in this key area.

Aimed at Parliamentarians and their researchers, as well as the wider policymaking community, the Guide contains six key messages for reform in this Parliament:



  • A short history of skills looking at past skills policy and comparing key bodies, funding structures and regulators

  • An overview of the skills system with maps and infographics on qualifications, funding, learner numbers and more

  • A policy review of the last five years from 2010-15

At present the UK faces growing social and economic challenges that the FE sector is well positioned to address. The Commission, however, is concerned that unless due attention is given to the role of the skills system in this Parliament, important opportunities to address Britain’s lagging productivity, and declining rates of social mobility, may be missed.

The Commission is making the publication available to download for free from the Skills Commission website here. The report will be launched formally at a reception hosted by Baroness Sharp of Guildford in the House of Lords on Monday 6th July. 

Commenting on the publication of the Guide Co-chair Dame Ruth Silver:

“This Guide is our gift to the new Parliament to help ensure that skills policy moves to the top of the political agenda. Alongside mobilising to address concerns over skills mismatches, productivity and the prospects of those trapped in low paid work, we must also ensure that we are enabling the FE and skills sector to meet the challenges and opportunities created by an ageing population, technological innovation and a changing labour market. Greater systems thinking will be required to ensure the system can adapt to the demands of the age.”