Update on UVAC policy positions and recent activity

It has been a busy six months or so for UVAC, which have seen us focus policy activity on the following areas:

The Skills Commission – Inquiry into Technician and Higher Level Skills – A consultation event was held in partnership with the Skills Commission and with the support of the University of Winchester. The inquiry focused on the following questions:

  • What do employers need from technician and higher level skills training?
  • How should technician and higher level skills training be funded?
  • How do we ensure there are clear progression pathways through technician and higher level skills training?

The discussion at the event formed the basis of UVAC’s response to the Inquiry. UVAC has also been approached by and met with the Skills Commission secretariat regarding the commissioning and the production of comparative papers on delivery models for technician and higher level skills in Australia, Canada and the USA.  Subject to agreement, this UVAC produced report would be published alongside the Skills Commission Inquiry at a launch event in October 2011.

Turning Rhetoric into Reality – Implementing the Concept of Higher Apprenticeship through HE/FE Partnerships – Conference ReportThis report outlines the discussion held at a conference sponsored by and held at Middlesex University on 23rd May 2011, which focused on how HE/FE partnerships could contribute to the growth, development and success of Higher Apprenticeship.  The event was attended by 45 delegates drawn from HEIs, FECs, LLNs and SSCs and featured presentations from BIS, the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), UVAC, the LLN National Forum and Construction Skills.  In addition to recording the issues raised at the event, this paper outlines a series of action points, proposed to enable HEIs and FECs contribute to the development and delivery of Higher Apprenticeship.

HE and Social Mobility – HE is a core priority in the Government’s social mobility strategy ‘Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers: A Strategy for Social Mobility’. UVAC contributed to UUK’s strategy and round table chaired by Professor Joy Carter, was invited to the Alan Milburn round table and has met with Cabinet Office officials.  UVAC has been invited by the Cabinet Office to work with our members and collect examples and analyse how approaches to work-based learning in HE can support social mobility.

We are also currently working with the Baker Dearing Trust to organise two briefing events (one South and one Midlands) on University Technical Colleges. The events will focus on the lessons of the first bidding round, particularly partnerships and employer engagement, and advice, timescales etc. on the second bidding round.  We are looking at holding the events in September.  More information will be in the website once plans are in place. On the basis of this work we plan to explore how we can produce a briefing paper for HEIs/FECs on their contribution to and involvement with UTCs.

HE White Paper – To support a UVAC response to the HE White Paper, we are proposing holding a networking event for UVAC members in early September focusing on issues such as greater diversity of provision, opening up the Higher Education market  and university/industry collaboration.  More information will be available soon. We are also discussing with the Skills Commission a UVAC input into a planned inquiry into Higher Education.

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