Fellows 2015

From personal passion to culture change

FETL exists to encourage the leadership of thinking in FE – a very busy sector, expected to respond to government and changes in policy at the drop of a hat. We have said before that FE and Skills is the first place to which policymakers turn when they have to make quick changes with direct impact.

The FE and Skills sector is already justly famous for how well we ‘do’ this, at delivery and at leadership level. FETL’s mission is not to develop the practice of ‘doing’ leadership, it is to develop a specific dimension of leadership, and that dimension is thinking. Thinking about other ways of doing, yes, but also thinking about other ways of being, in order to shape the future to which we are loyal. We have been talking about how this will shape our work for some time, but this report holds the first building blocks from the sector itself.

As part of this loyalty to the future, we need to be better prepared for it, and to hope that we can take responsibility for educating all the people we work with, policy makers and funders included. The future is not a place we are simply going to, it is a place we are making. Our Fellows are a key part of helping us to learn, to share and to make the future that will serve us all well. Our latest round of Grant projects also explores the possibilities of learning from other sectors, disciplines and approaches – there is no single source of evidence that we should turn to, but there is a critical mass that we need to build. Externally, we are delighted to be joined by fellow travellers – new organisations who are also focused on rigorous independent FE and Skills research.

These reports from the inaugural FETL Fellows respond to our call for learning both for short- term market need and long-term public good, and our need to look elsewhere and everywhere for this learning as we move forward. This is our true beginning, and you will see much more from us. The Fellows are part of FETL’s learning about how we can work most effectively to achieve our aims – they have been our trailblazers, and their legacy begins now.

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