The British Council were delighted to welcome policy makers and TVET leaders from over 15 countries around the world to reflect on the role and effectiveness of regional skills development. This is an area we have worked in for a number of years and we know regions are vital engines in driving improvements in skills and employment. The chair of this session, Chris Cooper, Principal Consultant, British Council set out some of the thoughts that informed this discussion and the lessons we have learned in a blog that you can read here.
The event, which you can watch again here, started with a welcome from Chris highlighted the importance of the topic and some of the complexities. He pointed out that countries are increasingly looking to regions to take the lead in aspects of skills development and that there is much we can learn from how others have attempted this around the world.
Chris also highlighted that despite many factors affecting the implementation of Skills Policy at a regional level including financial, legislative and political concerns, that culture and people were hugely important in the successful implementation of reform.
We then heard from Al Mouzouni, Project Lead, British Council Morocco. Ali is leading on a current EU funded project which is supporting the devolution of powers of Skills Development to regions in Morocco and he set the context for this project. Ali explained that at the early stages of supporting regions as is the case in Morocco the confidence stakeholders have in regional systems is important as is a clear definition of roles and responsibilities.
We were also very fortunate to be joined by Seonag Campbell from Skills Development Scotland, whose remit is supporting Island communities. Scotland has a well-developed system of regional devolution and Seonag explained some of the key components of this including: understanding the needs of local industry, responding to key local issues such as depopulation and the integration with other economic and social ambitions.
Further comments were made as the discussion widened, including that:
- Geography is an important factor to consider and we need to ensure the devolution is tailored and shaped to the right level and locality.
- That we need to understand that unchecked, devolution may create winners and losers in the system and be prepared for the implications of that.
- That many countries are looking to diversify economically and enabling regional autonomy is one way this can be achieved.
- That TVET is a mechanism to many ends and at a regional level it can sometimes be easier to join these agendas than nationally.
There was broad consensus that regional skills development can be a powerful tool to support economic and social ambitions. This discussion was held as part of our Global Skills Spotlight community. You can sign up to the newsletter here and see other planned events you can sign up for here. The next live discussion, ‘What should the College of the future be?’ will take place at 11.00 GMT on 26 November 2020.
Please do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to follow up on the discussion or have any suggestions for future topics.