5 years forward: implications for developing and retaining talent

Chaired by: Colin Huffen, Head of Education, CIMSPA


Sarah Edmonds, Director of Quality and Standards, Active IQ. (SE)
Tanya Kesterton, Head of Learning Solutions, Swim England. (TK)
Matt Rhodes, Policy Manager, Association of Colleges Sport.(MR)
Hannah Crane, Director of Workforce and Employability, Streetgames. (HC)
Tim Barry, Head of Department of Medical & Sport Sciences, University of Cumbria (TB)
Chris Fennell, Leisure and Environmental Services Section Head, Watford Borough Council. (CF)

Millennials are now the largest proportion of the workforce in two years’ time they will make up 50% of the total workforce and by 2030 will be 75%. Apart from the usual stereotypes what does this mean for educators and employers?

TB - Increased number of degrees being delivered, number of people progressing into HE has increased. Historically learners were spending a lot of money upskilling themselves after university completing L1s/2s, however they should no longer have to do this due to the embedding of the professional standards and that all degrees have placements.

MR - Generation Z are the new general coming through, for FE the millennials have come and gone. Technology is key and we are playing catch up with the learner at the minute. Learners expect to be involved in the development of their learning.

SE - Big changes happening, will GCSEs, A Levels etc still be around? 11.5 million certificates were issued last year that’s a fall of 8%, following a trend of a fall every year. Where we think we’ll be and where we will actually be may be very different.

HC - They will continue to deliver face to face as they feel it is the most beneficial for the type of learner they get through the door. The workforce want to be nurtured and valued, we need to focus on how we train managers to manage millennials and the next generation as currently there is a gap.

CF - Salaries aren’t great however there are other benefits to working in the sector. The landscape has changed massively, and we need to manage expectations of where these new jobs will be e.g. some local trusts are developing academies to help with career progression.

TK - Expectation of the use of technology is key, we need to develop learning to meet the need of the learner.

CH - Is education catering for the learner though?

HC (Panel) - We need to look at what we want from career advice, we need to talk more about transferrable skills as people move from sector to sector.

SE - Certificates are currency, maybe the names of the qualifications could be more representative of where we are moving to.

MR - Schools really are not living up to expectations in terms of advice they give. As they are more inclined to provide advice to stay at sixth form because of funding (not all are following the Baker clause). Employers also need to be the go-to, to get advice from.

TB - There is now more emphasis on destination data and therefore decisions are driven on employability.

Moving on from millennials we look at those currently in mainstream education, there seem to be numerous huge reviews of the whole education system.

  • GCSE grades have changed to a 9-1 scale.
  • We’re seeing a shifting policy from Ofsted moving from outcomes (exam results) to a greater emphasis on personal development.
  • We are in the middle of a review of technical education there is an imminent review of all funded qualifications due imminently.
  • Post Brexit its expected there will be a in depth review of higher education, including value for money with tuition fees.
  • Can you help us make sense of all of this and what it might mean for educators and employers?

TB - HE have massive changes coming up. Ofsted are now inspecting higher level apprenticeships and Office for Students are to inspect L6.

Implications for employers are that they need to understand the workforce is ready and that they are planning for it. We need to catch up with other chartered institutes and professionalise our workforce with chartered members.

MR - There is a big funding shortfall with a 12% cut, T Levels are going to make big changes and are unaffordable for colleges to deliver. We also need to make stronger cases to keep the current system if it works for us. The new Ofsted framework includes a section on learners’ access to sport and physical activity so some colleges are making a change to include more of this.

SE - We need stability for the next 5 years, will HE accept T Level as entry? There may not be enough money to fund anything else apart from T Levels.

HC - Streetgames ask for specific knowledge and skills not qualifications. Apprenticeships were meant to be helping the problem, however there is a shortage of opportunities.

CF - Some employers just do not have the capacity to take on more employees as the jobs just aren’t there especially with an aging population where people are in their jobs for longer. Watford Council are looking at ways to develop new roles and pathways.

At this point the session unfortunately ran out of time. Colin thanked everyone for their input and the lively productive discussions.

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