Working with partners, we share research and reports to support policy reform and system transformation. Access some of our latest publications below.
New research: ‘TVET Governance: The role of Institutional Leaders’
We are very grateful to Faith Graham and Andrew Dean for leading this work as well as all of the survey respondents and interviewees who contributed. This piece marks the final step in our series on governance and provides an important voice for institutional leaders to reflect on what they see as critical issues and opportunities related to TVET Governance. We know that they are the key agents of change and those that make policy happen and this report throws up some profound questions for policy makers.
Independence and autonomy is a somewhat relative term as shown by the 99% of survey respondents who identified that they had the ability to innovate. Clearly their contexts are varied and some of the respondents from countries with more devolved systems may not recognise those from more hierarchical structures as having this ability to the same degree.
The leaders of TVET institutions reference minimal resistance to change but a high level of concern about the resources and finance allocated to support that reform. Policy makers may well disagree with institutional leaders on this point but it does beg the question of how best they can support transformational agendas at an institutional level?
Devolution is not binary. Further thought needs to be given to what to devolve. For example with labour market information it is surely beneficial to be closer to local needs to inform local decision making but a central agency with responsibility may find it easier to form the expertise and rigour to develop high quality data. How best do policy makers balance the two?
Equally the reasons for seeking greater autonomy must be interrogated. We can be confident that all actors seek to deliver the best outcomes for learners but from a business perspective would greater autonomy over, for example, curricula, which many desire, result in a closer alignment between the needs of the labour market and the skills learners gain? Or, could it lead to institutions simply teaching what they know in order to avoid costly investment in staff development or setting curricula that is too specific to local employers and limiting learners’ currency in the broader labour market?
This report is timely and we do hope that it provides some interesting considerations for those working in TVET governance both in the UK and overseas. We at the British Council will learn from this series and continue to encourage closer links between education, employers and policy makers to help enhance the skills and employability of young people globally. We are sure that the UK experience and practice is relevant to inform devolution agendas overseas and that we as a system have much we can learn from collaboration with other countries mutually benefitting us all. The British Council will continue to support the development of this friendly knowledge and understanding. If you would like to discuss this research, share experiences in this space or any other in TVET we would love to hear from you.
Find the research here.
New Materials and Research
We are pleased to share two new publications which focus on the UK’s Skills Development system. The first is an updated version of the UK Skills Brochure. This covers all of the main areas of skills policy and delivery in the UK including, how it is funded, how training providers operate and the roles of different organisations.
We also have an additional shorter publication which outlines the ‘distinctive features’ of Skills Development in the UK which provides more insight on the principles of employer leadership, flexibility and rigorous quality assurance.
We also have two recently completed pieces of research which were commissioned by the British Council Skills team.
‘Changing lives: Internationalising the Skills Sector’ is specifically focussed on the UK and looks at “the potential effectiveness of internationalisation as a mechanism to address current challenges faced by the skills sector in the UK”.
Lastly we have new paper in our Governance series. Following on from International Reflections on TVET governance, ‘The role of TVET governance at subnational levels’ looks at devolution of powers over skills development in six countries, England, Indonesia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan and Serbia. The paper provides an important insight into the varied factors in policy making and implementation and analyses the impact of different models of devolved governance.
If you have any questions on any of the above documents please get in touch with Andy Hall, Skills Adviser, Policy at Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Routes to world class vocational learning and the challenge of productivity in a small country
The British Council Skills team and CollegesWales were delighted to welcome a number of stakeholders from across the Skills sector for a discussion of specific challenges that smaller countries face in delivering vocational education and different ways these can be addressed. The event took place in Cardiff on 2 February 2017 and saw contributions from Iestyn Davies, Chief Executive of CollegesWales, and Morland Wilson, Project Manager at the British Council Jamaica, sharing their knowledge and expertise.
The roundtable discussion is one of the series of events organised by the British Council Skills team to provide UK Skills stakeholders with insights into the global skills landscape, bring them together with counterparts from overseas and discuss key global and UK challenges.
If you are interested in participating in our future events, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
Global Skills Spotlight: Global Youth Employability
The British Council and Think Global were delighted to welcome a number of stakeholders from across the Skills and International Development Sectors for a discussion on Global Youth Employability on 15 December 2016.
As part of the discussion, Catherine Richardson from Think Global referenced Turbulent Times. Their report developed with OCR which surveyed employers views on a number of questions related to how well we are coping, and are likely to cope in the future, with the unpredictable demands of a global world. Catherine highlighted three key findings from the report, namely that the skills gap persists, more needs to be done to prepare for future skills requirements in a global world and that employers are out of touch.
We then heard from Leighton Ernsberger, Head of Skills, British Council India. Leighton introduced an Overview of India's evolving Skills development Landscape which highlights the challenges facing India and the initiatives being taken to address them. Of particular note was the fact that the average age of the population in India by 2020 will be 29 years as against 40 years in USA, 46 years in Europe and 47 years in Japan. Leighton also pointed out that unemployment is highest amongst graduates and the significant opportunities for the UK to engage with the Indian Skills Sector.
Further comments were made as the discussion widened, including that:
- It is important to consider audiences differently and, in particular, understand some of the challenges in gender parity
- Decisions and structural factors affecting young people today can mean those young people carry the consequences for the rest of their lives
- Policy needs to be right but education establishments and employers need to adapt to meet the challenges
- Qualifications alone won’t create fully global citizens
- Globalism is more effective when it permeates and is not viewed as a bolt on.
There was a general consensus that this issue is a key challenge of our time. We would welcome any stories or examples of effective practice or thinking in this area that we can share through our Global Skills Spotlight newsletter.
Please do get in touch by emailing Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something to share or would like to subscribe to the Global Skills Spotlight newsletter.
OVERVIEW OF INDIA’S EVOLVING SKILL DEVELOPMENT LANDSCAPE
The Governments of India and the UK have made Skill Development a priority in their respective countries and it is a key part of their bi-lateral relationship. The current Government in India has made significant changes to the governance of Skills in India, in what is already a complex landscape. Therefore, this report is a useful introduction for UK Skills providers to help navigate India’s skill sector. It provides a snapshot of the skills system and highlights the skills structures and includes the historic background, new policies and programmes, ministries involved and UK organisations working in this sector in India.
Which ministry should lead Skills development? International reflections on TVET governance
For our own purposes the British Council recently completed a survey of our education teams across the world to understand how different governments organise themselves for skills development. We were interested in the huge variety of approaches reported back, and we thought we should dig a little deeper. The result is this short discussion paper which looks at structures in six countries, along with some reflections and questions for the future.
This is a very timely report for the English skills sector. In the cabinet reshuffle on the 15 July 2016, instigated by the new UK Prime Minister Theresa May, skills and further education responsibility moved to the Department for Education. What can England learn from other systems who follow this approach? This report highlights the challenges and opportunities that face different ministerial departments in shaping skills policy. Additionally we consider whether which ministry holds responsibility for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is an intrinsic part of the success or failure of systems or are other factors such as the centralisation of authority more influential?
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN UKRAINE
Over the past decades, Ukraine has seen a disconnect between its education system and the labour market. Among the main reasons are: orientation of vocational and higher education curricula towards the demand and preferences of school graduates rather than economic trends and forecasts; absence of career counselling; and low level of cooperation between businesses and universities.
This brief provides an overview of skills landscape in Ukraine and outlines current skills development challenges and initiatives seeking to address them.
Enhancing Employer Engagement in the Design and Development of Effective Skills Solutions
Human resource development against a backdrop of raising youth unemployment is a challenge facing governments and educators throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Creating conditions for employers to own and drive the skills agenda is essential to the development of effective solutions.
The Enhancing Employer Engagement in the Design and Development of Effective Skills Solutions workshop, held in Amman in September 2015, brought together 26 professionals from six countries across the Middle East and North Africa. The aim was to share knowledge and experiences and discuss good practice partnership models that enhance skills investment against the backdrop of the global race to develop and deploy the talent needed in an innovation-driven economy.
Delegates left the workshop with straightforward strategies and tools to support them in driving forward change. The workshop report sets out the conclusions and suggestions for next steps.
SEA-TVET: Working Together Towards Harmonisation and Internationalisation
Realising the importance of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the region, the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), the Ministry of Education Thailand in partnership with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) Secretariat, and the British Council, organised the High Officials Meeting on SEA-TVET: Working Together Towards Harmonisation and Internationalisation. The meeting took place in Chiang Mai, Thailand in August 2015.
The objectives of the meeting were to strengthen the network of TVET national policymakers and practitioners in Southeast Asia to coordinate efforts for ASEAN integration, and to prioritise TVET areas of development and strategies, especially with respect to harmonisation and internationalisation.
As a result of the meeting, the Chiang Mai agreement was signed – a commitment to collaborate with SEA-TVET organisations in pursuing the strategic plan to promote competent and recognised vocational manpower.
Read the full report: SEA-TVET: Working Together Towards Harmonisation and Internationalisation. More information can also be found on the SEA-TVET website.