17 July 2023, 1-2pm,  Watch Here

The report presents an exploration of excellent practice in teaching, learning and assessment in the further education (FE) and skills sector in the United Kingdom and will be of interest to educators, senior leaders, employers and providers working within the sector.

We commissioned the Association of Colleges, a valued partner representing further education, sixth form, tertiary and specialist colleges in England, to carry out research to uncover the ingredients for success needed to embed excellence across all parts of the sector. It is our ambition that excellence should be available to everyone, wherever they work or study, whatever type of institution they attend, and whatever their level of learning or ability – and this research will help us to further advance this ambition.

The findings will be presented by the research team, followed by an expert panel who will discuss their views on the report and end with Q&A.

Meet the speakers

Ben Blackledge

WorldSkills UK CEO

Ben brings a wealth of experience to his role, having worked in senior policy positions in government before joining WorldSkills UK in 2014 and becoming Deputy Chief Executive in 2019. Following the departure of Dr Neil Bentley Gockmann OBE in May 2023, Ben acted as Interim CEO until 10 July when he was appointed as the new permanent CEO of WorldSkills UK. He combines a deep understanding of the UK and International skills landscape and its importance to UK competitiveness with a commitment to ensuring that young people have access to the best possible opportunities to develop their skills and reach their full potential.

Laura Leong

Photo of Laura Leong

High-Performance Skills Coach, WorldSkills UK

Beginning her career as a florist, Laura went onto complete a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Wolverhampton University.  Mentoring apprentices inspired Laura to make the move into education and she completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching. In 2016, Laura was appointed WorldSkills UK Training Manager for Floristry. Working with skill experts from over 80 countries, Laura played an integral role in ensuring the latest industry standards were reflected in WorldSkills Competitions. As a high-performance skills coach Laura draws on her international network of skill experts across a wide range of skills to mainstream world-class standards, through the Centre of Excellence helping thousands of young people boost their potential.

Philip Le Feuvre

Chief Strategy Officer, NCFE

Philip has experience of working across all levels of the education, employment and skills systems, in the UK, Australia and South East Asia. Philip joined NCFE in 2020 from consultancy, motivated by the direct impact on learners through the scale and reach of NCFE to influence the system to improve it.  The businesses and programmes he’s established have developed national qualifications and training content, created pathways for school leavers into work and helped people upskill and transition in their careers.

Libby Shackels

Director of Curriculum, Southern Regional College

Emma Meredith

Director for Skills Policy and Global Engagement, Association of Colleges

Emma oversees the AoC’s work on apprenticeships, adult education, higher education, international education and skills competitions. She has over 20 years’ experience working in colleges and universities across public and private education.

Julia Belgutay

Senior Policy Manager, Research and Evidence, Association of Colleges

Julia joined AoC in 2021. She is responsible for the Research Further programme. Prior to her work at AoC she spent over a decade as a sector journalist covering further education and skills across the United Kingdom.

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