By Simon Field, Director of Skills Policy

Face to face meetings are back! 

This conference reminded us of just how much we have been missing during the pandemic. On November 28-30, in Coventry, the British Council hosted an international conference on TVET for a Sustainable Economy. More than 50 senior government and agency TVET policy makers and managers, from Botswana, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Sudan, and Tanzania, took part. Over three days, delegates listened to and debated with speakers from many parts of the English TVET system, made visits to different training centres and employers, and identified options that could be of value in their own countries. 

The conference heard about initiatives in the field of green skills and sustainability – in the work of the Association of Colleges, the Education and Training Foundation, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and in the many green initiatives undertaken in Coventry itself. From the floor of the meeting we heard of the challenges of climate change, including how, in developing countries, the TVET system is needed to train young subsistence farmers to grow the crops that will survive in a different climate to that to which their parents were accustomed.

Presentations covered the changing landscape of technical education in England, the development of apprenticeship reform, qualifications regulation, T levels, local skills initiatives, as well as, from the Department for Education, a picture of the whole rationale for building the quality and status of TVET options for the half of the youth cohort who do not go to university.

Outside the conference room, a series of visits illustrated different aspects of the English TVET system – in Trident College in Leamington Spa where we saw their work with electric vehicles, and in the National Training Academy of Rail in Northampton we witnessed the round-the-clock repair and maintenance of railway rolling stock. Last but not least, at the Birmingham College of Food, we were served food prepared and served by the students, and we can report that it was fully worthy of a Michelin star!

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, said: “I was delighted to welcome TVET delegates to the city and have the opportunity to talk about how we are leading the green industrial revolution including all the jobs that will create for local people. I’m also pleased that while they were here they were able to see some of what we have to offer to visitors because of course the tourism sector is vital for the economic success of our city too.”

“The British Council’s Going Global Partnerships programme is designed to build stronger, more inclusive, internationally connected higher education and TVET systems. The visit to Coventry provided an invaluable opportunity for our overseas representatives to visit the UK, share their knowledge and experience, whilst being presented with the UK’s innovative and best practices in Coventry and the wider West Midlands region.  The warm welcome provided by Council Jim O’Boyle and Coventry City Hosts gave our delegates a wonderful open and close to the visit, creating some great memories and connections to take back to their individual countries. Thank you for having us Coventry!”, Chris Cooper, Global Lead TVET, Cultural Engagement

The TVET for a sustainable economy seminar is part of the British Council’s Going Global Partnerships programme.

Going Global Partnerships builds stronger, more inclusive, internationally connected higher education and TVET systems. The programme supports partnerships between universities, colleges, education policy makers, civil society organisations and industry partners in the UK and around the world.

Find more information about the speakers in the Downloads section at the bottom of the page.