Consultations, Strategies and Plans - there’s a lot going on!

I think I’ve read more strategies and plans and responded to more consultations in the past month or so than in the last year combined. After recovering from submitting our response to the OfS consultation, which, along with the supporting papers, ran to well over 500 pages, Linking London replied to the Mayor of London’s draft Skills and Adult Education Strategy for London over the Christmas period. The next one on the production line is the Government’s T level consultation followed by the Accelerated Degrees consultation and the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy for London consultation. In early December the Government’s Careers Strategy was published, closely following on from the Industrial Strategy White paper. Just before the festive break and slightly under the radar seemingly, a plan for improving social mobility through education - Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential - was released. Following on from the Government Careers Strategy, Careers guidance and access for education and training providers – Statutory guidance for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff was published on the 5th January. The guidance outlines what schools need to do to support the long term aim, as outlined in the Careers Strategy, of building a world class careers system and ensuring that everyone gets the careers guidance they need. A version for colleges is expected imminently. And finally, on the 9th of January a House of Commons Briefing Paper Careers guidance in schools, colleges and universities  which looks at careers guidance in schools and further education colleges and how well schools and colleges are discharging their duties, as well as careers guidance in higher education, was published.

While it’s beyond the scope of this article to get you fully up to speed with the detail of all of these consultations, strategies and papers, (in the context of the Careers Strategy, I’ve had a go at summarising the key points in December’s article) what struck me when reading through them was that the importance of improving both careers information advice and guidance (CIAG) and access to labour market information and intelligence (LMI). Focusing on the latter, the Industrial Strategy White paper highlights the importance of data and states that one of the aims of the White paper is to make the UK the best understood economy in the world. The recent Government Careers Strategy emphasises the importance of LMI, as does the Mayors Skills Strategy consultation, which includes the recommendation that a London sector skills board is created to advise on aligning skills provision with industry requirements in key sectors in London.

In addition, an emphasis on improving the availability of information on current and future occupational skills needs for London, which would include an accessible data resource to provide robust and regular data along with skills needs forecasting, is included in the Mayor’s strategy. Linking London would certainly welcome improvements in the quality and accessibility of LMI data, which, as I have found while working on a revised LMI report focusing on London, is not before time.

In terms of improving careers information advice and guidance, in addition to the Government's Careers Strategy, the importance of CIAG and the need to improve quality and accessibility is mentioned in the Industrial Strategy and the T level consultation, and features heavily in the Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential plan. It is also one of the key objectives in the Mayor’s Skills Strategy for London. The consultation paper outlines plans to develop a coherent and accessible all-age careers information advice and guidance offer, building on London Ambitions, for London.  

Along with a number of publications and consultations we also had a cabinet reshuffle with a new Minister for Higher Education, Sam Gyimah, and the expectation that the government will undertake a major review of higher education funding this year. It’s certainly going to be a very interesting year ahead and here at Linking London we will do our best to keep you up to date with all the key developments in 2018.