Skills Policy Seminars

Skills Seminars

Our skills policy seminars bring together experts and policy makers from around the world to build on learning from the UK and explore important global priorities for skills and employability.

The seminars are a unique opportunity for learning, discussion and networking as well as gaining first-hand experience through visits to leading institutions and organisations. Designed to promote understanding of innovative approaches to technical and vocational education and training (TVET), and raise awareness of the global TVET picture, they are a great catalyst for UK-overseas collaboration.

The seminar themes are chosen to meet the priorities of our global network. See below:

Recent Seminars


This seminar, held 7 - 9 March 2017 in Scotland, explored the differing approaches to entrepreneurship training within the wider skills agenda by drawing on the expertise and varied perspectives of entrepreneurs, government officials and representatives from the education sector.

The event addressed key issues, including: 

  • Should enterprise training be included within or additional to technical training? 
  • The part played by mentoring
  • Means of reaching disadvantaged groups
  • The roles of different stakeholders
  • Equipping learners with the skills needed for the 21st century

Visits to Scottish colleges, innovation hubs and businesses were also incorporated within the event.


On 15-17 November the British Council hosted a three-day policy dialogue in Birmingham that brought together delegations of senior policy makers from over 15 countries to showcase the UK’s approach to skills delivery and discuss important global priorities for skills and employability. The event introduced delegates to the main components of the UK vocational education and training system and explored such key issues as employer engagement, quality assurance, apprenticeships and inclusion. 

The programme was designed to link skills policy and practice and included visits to Warwickshire College, Birmingham Metropolitan College, Balfour Beatty and Doosan Babcock, and independent training providers Babington Group and EEF Technology Hub. One of the highlights of the programme was the visit to the Skills Show, the UK’s largest skills and careers event, which enabled the delegates to see the very best of young talent showcasing their professional and technical skills.

The delegates also had a great opportunity to hear from some of the UK leading experts in the skills sector, including from representatives of the Association of Colleges, Education Scotland and the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards. 

The event is one of the series of policy dialogues and study tours for international delegates organised by the British Council every year. Designed to promote understanding of innovative approaches to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and raise awareness of the global TVET picture, they have proven a great catalyst for UK-overseas collaboration and kick-started a number of excellent initiatives both at home and abroad.


The event took place on 31 May - 2 June 2016 in London and addressed the key strategic issues in creating a skilled workforce which contribute to economic growth. Themes such as funding, oversight, flexibility and planning for the future were also discussed.

The seminar, whilst being led by the British Council, was intended to be interactive and included opportunities for delegates to share their own experiences and challenges as well as be able to hear from UK contributors.

Seminars in 2017

Registration now open

Changing the perception of Vocational Education: Careers Advice and Guidance 

In partnership with Education & Employers

When: 14 – 16 November 2017
Where: Birmingham, UK
Cost: £950 (includes 3 nights’ accommodation in a 4-star hotel, all transport during the seminar, breakfast and lunch on the 14th, 15th and 16th, and a stakeholder dinner on the 15th). 

This event will address the fundamental topic of the esteem of vocational education in the minds of young people, their parents and wider society.  Participants will gain an insight into how the UK careers advice system works and the initiatives underway to promote vocational employment paths. We will also address key factors such as the currency of qualifications, communications, work experience and the role played by parents.  There will be interactive elements to the programme and delegates will have an opportunity to share good practice and network with colleagues.  

The programme will also feature:

  • Visit to the Skills Show
  • Visits to employers 
  • Expert speakers
  • Interactive workshops
  • Visits to colleges
  • Opportunities to network with leaders in the UK and from around the world
  • A UK stakeholder dinner

Who should attend?
This event will focus on the challenges associated with careers advice and means of attracting learners to vocational education.  It will therefore be suitable for those who are seeking to understand and discuss innovative practice in this area. It will also be appropriate for those who have responsibility for careers advice or encouraging young people to pursue vocational education either as policy makers or institutional leaders.

Registration: Please follow this link to register. The deadline for registering is 6 October 2017. 

Our seminar in November 2017 will be delivered in partnership with Education & Employers. Launched in 2009, Education & Employers aims to ensure ‘every school and college has an effective partnership with employers to provide its young people with the inspiration, motivation, knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to help them achieve their potential and so to secure the UK’s future prosperity’. The charity seeks to achieve this by working in close partnership with leading national bodies representing schools, colleges and employers.

Their flagship platform, Inspiring the Future, matches employee volunteers with schools and colleges around the UK, and has attracted considerable international interest. The charity’s cutting-edge research has also gained recognition nationally and internationally through high quality evidence reviews, impact reports and conferences and seminars in the field of employer engagement in education. 


Seminars in 2018

Apprenticeships: Spotlight on Wales

 In partnership with ColegauCymru/CollegesWales.

When: 6 – 8 March 2018

Where: Cardiff, Wales

81% of businesses state that employing apprentices makes their workplace more productive. For learners, completing an apprenticeship is a chance to gain real world work experience alongside training, while receiving a salary. This event will therefore introduce delegates to the apprenticeships system in Wales as well as provide space to think about work-based learning and how it can deliver better outcomes for learners and economies.  

More specifically, during the seminar we will explore the following questions:

  • If employers lead training, how do we ensure learners are educated for life and not just for a specific job role?
  • How can you persuade employers to take on apprentices?
  • Who should set the training standards for industry?
  • Who will pay for training?

The programme will also feature:

  • Visits to employers
  • Visits to independent training providers
  • Visits to colleges
  • Expert speakers
  • A networking dinner

Who should attend?
The seminar will be most suitable for stakeholders from government, industry or education who are seeking to understand best practice in the field of apprenticeships. 

Our seminar in March 2018 will be delivered in partnership with ColegauCymru/CollegesWales. ColegauCymru/Colleges Wales is a charity and limited company that raises the profile of further education among decision-makers in order to improve educational opportunities in Wales. It is a member-led body, representing all 14 further education colleges and institutions in Wales. Through ColegauCymru/CollegesWales, colleges are represented on various committees, working parties and other groups that influence and shape policy in post-16 education, training and skills and life-long learning.  

ColegauCymru organises and supports opportunities for college staff to undertake overseas study visits focusing on improving quality and innovation, job shadowing with international counterparts, language planning and developing strategic partnerships with international partners. The organisation also helps college learners and apprentices to broaden their horizons through coordinating a programme of work placements overseas and cultural exchanges. 

Study tours

Study tours provide an opportunity to experience UK best practice and innovation in TVET. They are organised in conjunction with our British Council country offices and provide an insight to the UK skills sector linked to the priorities of the delegates.

What our delegates say

"A unique opportunity to share best practices. It was a great effort on the part of the British Council." (Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik, Government of Punjab, Pakistan)

"The field visits were relevant and allowed for comparison with what is being implemented in Trinidad and Tobago." (Balchan Ramberran, National Training Agency, Trinidad and Tobago)

"Enhance new project possibilities with the British Council and new partnerships." (Patricia Arenas, Secretary of Education, Colombia)