Policy Reviews

UK VET Policy Reviews and Strategies

Education is the responsibility of the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Below is an overview of the main recent policy reviews related to vocational education and skills in the UK:

Post-16 Skills Plan
Department for Education, July 2016. The post-16 skills plan sets out the government’s plan to support young people and adults to secure skilled employment and meet the needs of the economy. The plan is based on the work of Lord Sainsbury’s independent panel which was set up to advise ministers on improving the quality of technical education in England.

Towards 2030: A framework for building a world-class post-compulsory education system for Wales
Ellen Hazelkorn, March 2016. Review of the oversight of post-compulsory education in Wales, with special reference to the future role and function of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, including recommendations for how a new framework for post-compulsory education can be built.

Further Education Means Success: The Northern Ireland Strategy for Further Education
Department for Employment and Learning, January 2016. The strategy provides the future direction for further education in Northern Ireland and sets out the new policy commitments to ensure their delivery. A Programme for Implementation of the strategy which sets out the key milestones and associated timescales was launched in March 2016.

English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision
HM Government, December 2015. This publication outlines the government’s plan for increasing the quality and quantity of apprenticeships and achieving 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. It sets out what is expected of all main stakeholders, employers, education and training providers and government working together.

Generating our Success: The Northern Ireland Strategy for Youth Training
Department for Employment and Learning, June 2015. This strategy outlines the future direction for youth training in Northern Ireland and sets out the new policy commitments and an implementation plan to ensure their delivery with a focus on tackling disengagement and promote greater social mobility.

Skills implementation plan
Welsh Government, July 2014. The plan sets out key policy actions that will take place up until 2016 to provide the basis for employment and skills policy over the next decade. The plan also outlines short-term actions to support the post-19 skills system and create a sustainable skills system.

Education Working For All!
Scottish Government, June 2014. The final report from the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce contains 39 recommendations aiming to enhance vocational education and linking business and VET, following extensive consultations with leading figures in education, business and equalities groups.

Securing our Success: The Northern Ireland Strategy on Apprenticeships
Department for Employment and Learning, June 2014. This strategy provides the future direction of apprenticeships in Northern Ireland, and sets out the new policy commitments and an implementation plan to ensure their delivery at qualifications framework levels 3-8.

Adult Learning in Scotland: Statement of Ambition
Scottish Government, May 2014. This document sets out the Scottish Government’s belief in the key role that effective adult learning plays at the core of a Scottish knowledge-based society according to the core principles of adult learning being learner-centred, lifelong and lifewide.

Policy statement on skills
Welsh Government, January 2014. This publication sets out future policy actions which will enable Wales to evolve into a highly skilled nation. It is focused on employment and skills and covers four priority areas: skills for jobs and growth, skills that respond to local needs, skills that employers value and skills for employment. The objective of the statement is to create the right conditions for employers across Wales to thrive and prosper.

Review of Adult Vocational Qualifications in England
Nigel Whitehead, UKCES, November 2013. The Whitehead review analyses the current system for vocational qualifications in England, to identify areas that require improvement and to make recommendations for reform, building on and celebrating what works. It argues that vocational qualifications should be relevant; valued by employers and individuals; rigorously designed based on high level outcome based standards; appropriately assessed and graded; and recognised as worthy of investment.

Rigour and Responsiveness in Skills, DfE /BIS, April 2013
The updated skills strategy aims to make the English VET system more rigorous and responsive to need. Vocational qualifications must be rigorous so they qualify a worker to practise in their chosen role. This publication explains how the Government plans to:

  • raise standards by making the system more professional and intervening in poor provision
  • create traineeships to prepare young people for work
  • reform and improve the quality of Apprenticeships
  • make qualifications relevant and valued
  • use funding to make provision more responsive
  • give employers and individuals the information to make the right choices

The Richard Review of Apprenticeships
Doug Richard, November 2012. This reports the findings from an independent review on what an apprenticeship in England should be, and how apprenticeships can meet the needs of the changing economy. Recommendations include redefining apprenticeships, focusing with greater rigour on the outcome of an apprenticeship, and using recognised industry standards to form the basis of every apprenticeship.

Review of Qualifications for 14-18-year-olds in Wales
Welsh Government, November 2012. The independent Review was commissioned in September 2011 to consider how the Welsh Government can achieve the vision of qualifications that are understood and valued and meet the needs of young people and the Welsh economy.

Report of the Review of Further Education Governance in Scotland, Russel Griggs / Scottish Government
January 2012. The report argues that a regional model is the best foundation on which to build for the future of the Scottish FE sector. This will deliver a more cohesive and consistent sector, while maintaining links with the communities that it serves. A number of recommendations are made on the governance of new regional boards, including how members are appointed and the importance of auditing performance against target outcomes.

New Challenges, New Chances
BIS, December 2011. This document sets out what the Government will financially support and the programme of work required to take forward the reform of FE and skills system for adults aged 19 and over in England. It is based on the principles set out in Skills for Sustainable Growth and taking account of the responses to our New Challenges, New Chances consultation.

Review of Post-16 Education and Vocational Training in Scotland
Willy Roe / Scottish Government, August 2011. This report suggests ways to improve education and training for the workplace. It argues that the post-16 education and vocational training arrangements should be strengthened and better integrated with other parts of the education and employment systems.

Success through Skills - Transforming Futures
DEL, May 2011. The Strategy looks at the current skills base, examines the skills needed in the future to grow the Northern Ireland economy and highlights areas for action. The document is a ten year Strategy which sets out the long term direction of travel by highlighting four strategic goals.