Session highlights

  • One of the top priorities for addressing skills shortages in Azerbaijan is to align VET programmes to growth markets and sectors, says Jeyhun Karamov - Deputy Director, Azerbaijan State Agency on Vocational Education. But a big challenge is overcoming perceptions of VET as a "dead end" choice. Government agencies are working with employers, schools and parents to combat that, he said.
  • Dr Kate Daubney - Director of The Centre of Excellence for Careers and Employability and Director of The Careers Group federation of careers services, University of London, UK, underlined the importance of being clear about terms like careers and employability to help learners make good decisions. While careers are like a map through the personal journey in education and work, while employability was like a suitcase or luggage that carries our accumulation of skills, knowledge and experience. "It  really matters that we are very clear about these terms, because the more self-aware learners are ... the easier it is for them to make decisions well about the choices they face."
  • Dr Kate Daubney argued that learners need to be encouraged to think about careers not only in their subject specialisms, but also around and beyond them: "Using a model of in/around/beyond enables anyone working in higher education and pre-18 education to find a way to connect all the aspects of curriculum experience to students' ability to choose careers and understand how the employability they are developing through their learning will continuously help them to be successful," she said.
  • Presenting research into the skills and training needs of the hospitality, tourism and retail industries, which have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, Jane Rexworthy, Executive Director, People 1st International, UK, said there was a pressing need for flexible bite-sized modules that people can learn whilst on the job "and they need to be very reflective of the challenges which are being faced right now", such a introducing new technology and adjusting to new regulations around keeping customers safe.  

Session summary

For governments, employers and education institutions planning for an uncertain future is a hard enough task.  For learners though confronted with myriad options the wrong moves are not only all too easy to make but can be perceived as costly and significantly harm their life chances.

How then do we ensure that we give learners the best chance of making good decisions for their future against a backdrop of considerable uncertainty?

During this panel debate, we will address the following key questions:

  • Do we need to focus on broad or specific skills for the future and what mix of learning options do we need to generate?
  • How do we communicate effectively with learners and their influencers to drive effective choices?
  • What responsibility do institutions have to ensure good learner choices in marketized systems?

This session will be chaired by Andrew Hall - Senior Consultant (Policy and Skills Systems) at the British Council, UK. Joining Andrew will be:

  • Jane Rexworthy - Executive Director, People 1st International, UK
  • Dr Kate Daubney - Director of The Centre of Excellence for Careers and Employability and Director of The Careers Group federation of careers services, University of London, UK
  • Jeyhun Karamov - Deputy Director, Azerbaijan State Agency on Vocational Education, Azerbaijan