There is still plenty of time to register as a day delegate or online delegate at our national conference this year in Manchester on Thursday, 25 November.


Keith Smith, Director of Strategy at DfE, leading on strategic issues across post-16 provision to deliver the secretary of state’s priorities. One of his main duties has been the writing of the Skills for Jobs White Paper and preparation of The Skills and post-16 Education Bill including measures to deliver the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and a flexible loan system for higher-level education and training at university of college

Keith will be looking at the theme of HE and the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, Credit Accumulation and Transfer and set out the Department’s view on “The Vision and Role of HE in the Skills System”. He will also look at the Lifelong Learning Guarantee and Credit Accumulation and Transfer from Policy to Practice.

John Cope, Director of Strategy, Policy and Public Affairs at UCAS, and Board member of the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education will be addressing the theme of HE and Apprenticeship Applications and Recruitment Trends setting out “Shifting trends in student and apprenticeship applications: what do they mean for the future?”

Dr Ruth Massie, Associate Professor (Reader) in Andragogy at Cranfield University and, excitingly, Education Lead for the new university in Milton Keynes (MK:U) billed as a ‘future-orientated and inclusive new educational establishment’. Ruth will be addressing the theme of Degree Apprenticeships and why MK:U as a new-model university in Milton Keynes, is delivering Apprenticeship first in a strategic partnership with Grant Thornton UK LLP from September 2021.

Jonathan Mitchell, Deputy Director, Portfolio and Partnerships at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) will look at Degree Apprenticeships – The Reforms and Policy Refresh. With responsibility for leading the consultation on the refresh of degree apprenticeship policy, Jonathan will look at “What the Reforms Mean and How HEIs Should Respond” as well as what the Institute and employers will expect from Higher Education going forward.

Nic Hutchins, Principal – Skills Manager (Apprenticeships) and Adele Reynolds, Principal Skills Manager from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (made up of the ten Greater Manchester councils and Mayor, Andy Burnham), will be presenting a joint address on the theme of Skills, the Regional and Local Dimension. They will present a view of how HE should deliver the skills needed by a region i.e., how are we going to get Bolton and Blackburn to the economic and skills level of Windsor and Eton including, what does a regional mayor expect from the university sector and how will they work with them and what can the Mayor and the Mayor’s Office do differently.