The latest WorldSkills UK Productivity Lab event – Raising the status of technical education: what can the UK learn from other countries – took place today (26 February 2020) at RICS’ headquarters in London.

The event was sponsored by NOCN and speakers included:

• Chair, Suzanne Duncan, Chief Executive & Principal East Durham College
• Graham Hasting-Evans, Group Managing Director, NOCN
• Laura-Jane Rawlings, Chief Executive, Youth Employment UK
• Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann, CEO, WorldSkills UK
• Ben Blackledge, Deputy CEO, WorldSkills UK
• Rebecca West, Beauty Therapist and WorldSkills Gold Medallist

The event brought together key people from the FE (further education) sector to discuss how we can give technical education the prestige it deserves and the prestige it has in other countries – countries that we know excel in technical education through benchmarking at WorldSkills competitions.

Recent Productivity Lab projects were discussed including a report published for WorldSkills UK and FETL by the RSA, ‘Adopting global skills innovations for the UK’, which looked at skills systems in Switzerland, Russia, Singapore and Shanghai and how those countries or regions used WorldSkills to help raise standards in technical education.

Another report that was discussed was one published by the University of Oxford last year, ‘Good people in a flawed system: the challenges of mainstreaming excellence in technical education’. The report concluded that TVET (technical and vocational education and training) in the UK teaches young people to be competent rather than excellent. A stark contrast to the situation in Switzerland.

Graham Hasting-Evans from NOCN spoke about how working with WorldSkills UK allowed them to gain insights from other countries to help improve productivity in the construction sector. 

Former Team UK member and WorldSkills UK Skills Champion Rebecca offered her perspective, based on her experience of technical education and explained why she’s keen to raise its status for future generations.

Laura-Jane Rawlings from Youth Employment UK then spoke about the importance of delivering for young people and putting them at the heart of issues affecting youth employment.

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