Skills policy seminars and study tours

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


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


When:  7 - 9 March 2017

Where:  Scotland

This seminar will explore 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 will address 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 will also be incorporated into the event.

How do we create opportunities for all through Vocational Education and Training?

When: 14 – 16 June 2017

Where: London, England

This seminar will focus on engaging different groups in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).  Inclusion will be addressed in its most comprehensive sense, and we will assess the various factors that can result in marginalisation from vocational occupations including gender, disability, race, socio-economic background, and geography.  We will also consider innovative programmes underway to engage these groups and reflect on which policies can enable a broader engagement in TVET.

The programme will also feature:

  • Expert speakers
  • Visits to employers
  • Visits to community initiatives
  • Visits to colleges
  • A networking dinner

Who should attend?
This event will focus on a number of initiatives underway to build a more inclusive TVET system in London.  Therefore, prospective delegates who are responsible for training providers or policy in this area would be encouraged to attend.  The intention is for the event to offer an opportunity for delegates to contribute to an interactive discussion, so a high level of delegate participation will be welcomed.

Registration is open and will close on 15 May. 

Changing the perception of Vocational Education: Careers Advice and Guidance 

When: November 2017

Where: England

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 best practice and network with colleagues.

The programme will also feature:

  • Visits to employers 
  • Expert speakers
  • Interactive workshops
  • Visits to colleges
  • Opportunities to network with college staff
  • 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. 

Seminars in 2018

Apprenticeships: Spotlight on Wales

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. 

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)