Reforms in the TVET System for Regional Integration: UK Model

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1 Slide 1 Reforms in the TVET System for Regional Integration: UK Model Emma Whitehead, Skills Adviser Education & Society British Council 1

2 Slide 2 Introduction Context: UK and integration Balance of interests in an evolving system UK Models to: ensure quality ensure relevance support innovation Collaboration strategies 2 Rather than try to cover the details of the UK model in a short space of time, I thought I d give a brief overview of the UK in the context of regional integration, and then focus on three key themes that underpin the UK model that could be useful to consider in South East Asia quality, relevance and innovation.

3 Slide 3 UK context Four country dimension Democratic approach to policy development UK Parliament (Westminster) Welsh Assembly Government Northern Ireland Assembly Scottish Government Dept. for Education Dept. for Business, Innovation and Skills Dept. for Education and Skills Dept. for Employment and Learning Dept. of Education Learning and Justice Directorate The UK is in itself a region of four countries England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and exists within the European Union. As this diagram shows, even at the very top level of government, there are some fairly fundamental areas of difference in how TVET is positioned in England, it linked to Business and Innovation whereas in Northern Ireland it is linked more precisely to Employment and Learning. The same is true in South East Asia, where responsibility for TVET falls under different ministries of education, human resources and work and so on. It is therefore important in integration to find common ground, and key concepts that underpin the systems that are built up, as well as having a clear understanding of the different priorities of different stakeholders in the systems.

4 Slide 4 Quality: Key concepts Parity of esteem : vocational route as a viable and flexible route to employment Balance of interests: Non-ministerial government departments responsible for quality regulation Dual professionalism Continuous improvement Quality assured through funding mechanisms 4 One theme of common ground in the UK and European Union is the quality of TVET. There is a lot of focus on idea that TVET should be seen as a viable route to employment, equal to higher education. This quality in the UK is assured through a balance of interests with different regulators and organisations representing different aspects of quality and through funding mechanisms that ensure that funding is dependent on meeting a range of quality criteria. Another key concept is the idea of dual professionalism that teachers and trainers are professionals as teachers, and also in their key industry sector. Finally, quality is all about continuous improvement that there will never be the perfect system, and always room to improve.

5 Slide 5 Quality: Implementation and challenges Examples of implementation National Qualifications Framework, referenced to the European framework, in which qualifications are unitised and credit based Quality assurance system based on self-assessment, external inspection and regulation from Ofsted and Ofqual Education & Training Foundation: professional standards Challenges Young people who are NEET, often due to lack of personal, social or financial wellbeing Qualifications as proxies of education: focus on frameworks rather than research into pedagogies 5 These concepts can be seen being implemented through a National Qualifications Framework, referenced to the European Framework, that is designed to support parity of esteem as a Credit and Qualifications framework, it allows unitised parts of qualifications to be transferred and accumulated through different routes. It also supports quality through benchmarking qualifications against the different levels within the UK and within Europe. We at the British Council are working with ministries in Vietnam to support their development of an NQF in line with the ASEAN framework, learning from the UK model. The work of Ofsted, Ofqual and the Education & Training Foundation also provide useful experience to learn from. There are, however, challenges. Driving quality encourages a focus on achievement, and in the UK we still face the challenge of numbers of young people who are not in employment, education or training, or leaving education with no qualifications. This is often due to a lack of personal, social or financial wellbeing. I was impressed on my visit to Thailand earlier this year with the efforts made by many colleges to support their students with such difficulties, and so think that there is a great deal we could learn from exchanging models.

6 Slide 6 Relevance: Key concepts Competency based system: Labour Market Research Training and qualifications strategy Occupational Standards Development Qualification and Assessment Development Curriculum Development Learning and Teaching Materials Development Market responsive: responding to local, national and regional economic needs individual employers, and sector overview 6 In terms of relevance our system in the UK is a competency based one, which means that all training starts with the needs of the labour market what it needs people to be able to be competent at, and then works back from that to develop the strategy, the standards, and from the standards the qualifications, the curriculum and then finally the teaching materials. This way, the system is responsive to changing labour needs. A competency based approach such as this could be a key route to meaningful integration of TVET models in South East Asia, if the Labour Market needs are seen as regional needs, and if intelligence about these needs is shared openly. Being responsive to changes, will be a challenge that the region will share with the UK.

7 Slide 7 Relevance: Implementation and challenges Examples of implementation UKCES and Sector Skills organisations Industrial Partnerships Trailblazer apprenticeships and Traineeships Simpler occupational standards LMI for all open access to Labour Market Intelligence Challenges Do employers always know what is possible? Research and international benchmarking can lead to quality and innovation Engagement of SMEs and sole traders Informal economy 7 The way this is implemented is through the work of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, and through Sector Skills organisations and more recently Industrial Partnerships, who represent the needs of employers within different industry sectors. They are supporting employers to build new apprenticeship and trainee programmes, simpler occupational standards, and open access to labour market intelligence. Again, however, there are challenges as some argue that employers don t always know what could be possible in the future, but only what their needs are now. There is a need to engage with research and international benchmarking which is why we re excited to be bringing UK Colleges to visit the ASEAN Skills Competition taking place in Hanoi this week.

8 Slide 8 Innovation: Key concepts Autonomy: Devolved administrations Colleges as autonomous governed entities Competition and collaboration Student voice: Why would young people engage in an education that presents their future career as a Victorian life-sentence? Flexible progression routes 8 Thirdly, innovation. Within the UK there has been a drive towards increasing autonomy, both in terms of the devolved administrations of the different countries within the UK, and in terms of the TVET institutions themselves. This is based on the idea that autonomy will generate innovation in response to local needs. There has also been a number of methods to use both competition within the market and collaboration to drive a need and environment for innovation. This has been supported by an idea that the student is a key customer, and needs to believe the training they get will provide them with a prosperous and fulfilling future.

9 Slide 9 Innovative: Implementation and Challenges Examples of implementation Employer Ownerships of Skills pilot Innovative approaches to teaching and learning, e.g. Studio Schools, University Technical Colleges, National Skills Academies Enterprise and entrepreneurial learning, e.g. Gazelle Colleges E-learning and digital pedagogies and tools Challenges - Competition: race to the bottom therefore regulation following Wolf Review (qualifications) and Richards Review (apprenticeships) - Customer takes priority over audience - Inequality: Disseminating innovations developed through autonomy 9 This has seen a number of innovations at a country and college level as different curricular and different models of college have evolved, such as Studio Schools, and Colleges that focus on entrepreneurial learning, such as the Gazelle Group of Colleges. It also has it s challenges as individual or groups of colleges are benefitting from innovation, this risks increasing the inequalities between those that have access to these innovations and those that don t. There has also been criticism of a race to the bottom as awarding bodies and publishers have created qualifications and resources that make it as easy as possible for institutions to reach high grades, rather than focussing on quality. Government commissioned reviews, such as the Wolf Review into Vocational Education and the Richards Review of Apprenticeships have resulted in measures to address this linked to the first theme of quality.

10 Slide 10 Balance Quality Relevance Innovation 10 It therefore seems that if the South East Asia region is to look to UK models, there are a lot of examples of current good practice to draw on but - it would be worth discussing the key concepts underpinning the models, to avoid any unintended consequences; as well as discussing the balance between quality, relevance and innovation about how to ensure that innovations and employer-led initiatives drive quality up and not down, that the need for current relevance doesn t inhibit innovation for the future.

11 Slide 11 Collaboration strategies Policy dialogues and study tours International Skills Partnerships: - Collaborative action research - Piloting innovative approaches - Joint Practice Development Relationship building based on cultural understanding 11 Therefore, when looking to collaborate with the UK: dialogue, iterative development and adaptation, and mutual development based on cultural understanding will be key.

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