The Skills Commission issues report calling for strategic skills funding decisions for devolution

The Skills Commission issues report calling for strategic skills funding decisions for devolution

08th December 2016

In a report funded by the Further Education Trust for Leadership, the Skills Commission is today calling for devolution funding to be based on an area’s ambition and need, not just population or business size, to ensure devolved areas can fill the skills gap.

Lord David Blunkett, Barry Sheerman MP, Dame Ruth Silver and Neil Bates, Principal and CEO of the UK’s first college of advanced technology, have come together with the Skills Commission to launch its new report, Going Places: innovation in further education and skills in the Houses of Parliament on 8th December.

The report, which comes after a 10 month inquiry spanning across the UK, focuses on the innovative practices colleges are engaging with up and down the country, and the potential that devolution has for making this innovation more widespread across the system.

Skills Commission Co-Chairs, Barry Sheerman MP and Dame Ruth Silver said:

“Devolution is a striking opportunity to boost regional employers, SMEs and providers’ links, and fill skills gaps specific to regions. We can ensure all learners across the UK have the opportunity to access quality education and work. Through this inquiry have seen some brilliant new practices in the ever-changing world of FE and skills, and we are calling for government and local authorities to ensure that devolution funding pushes education providers and employers to support one another and respond to regional skills gaps which so badly need resolving.”

Lord Blunkett said:

“The work of the Skills Commission has highlighted how education providers and employers are pushing ahead for the betterment of their students and local economies’ skills needs of their local economy.  It is vital that we use these examples to improve practice locally, regionally and nationally.  Devolution must be adequately supported by both national investment and giving power to raise funds locally. In this way it will be possible to meet the skills needs of areas covered by the Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, putting a new industrial strategy and future national economy at its heart.”


Notes for editors

Key facts:

Information on the Skills Commission:

  • The Skills Commission is an independent body comprising of leading figures from across the education sector that meets every month in Parliament to discuss important issues in skills, training and further education policy.
  • The Skills Commission’s latest inquiry, Going Places: innovation in further education and skills, is available for public download from 8th It makes 17 recommendations aimed at education providers; sector bodies; national and local government agencies; and employers, LEPs, and business sectors.
  • This inquiry was chaired by Neil Bates, Principal and CE of Prospects College of Advanced Technology.
  • This report looks at the inspiring innovation and leadership taking place in further education and skills across the United Kingdom. We highlight the best and make recommendations that would enable the best to become very best.



The report and enquiry was funded by the Further Education Trust for Leadership.


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