Rethinking Skills

College Symposium calls for lifelong learning revolution

The impact the pace of change is having on learning, skills and the future employability of students was keenly debated at City of Glasgow College’s latest education symposium.

Bringing together leading practitioners, academics and experts it was described as an excellent opportunity to chart a way forward for colleges.

Paul Little, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Glasgow College, said:

“Education can make the difference as to whether people embrace the challenges they are confronted with or whether they are defeated by them. This valuable symposium allowed us to debate the challenges ahead, to reassert the value and currency of higher technical and professional skills, and insert a new urgency into rethinking skills.”

The symposium, which focused on how best to prepare students with the necessary knowledge and skills they will need to thrive and shape their world, heard a range of collective insights and opinion.

Russell Gunson, Director of IPPR Scotland, commented:

"If the last 30 years has been about expanding higher education, the next 30 years needs to be about revolutionising lifelong learning. Skills investment and reform is one of the single most important ways to prepare and respond to the disruptions we face.”

For Professor Alison Wolf, from Kings College London, it was about the need to address structure or nothing else would follow; adding:

“Giving people training in specific skills is a bad idea. General skills will always win out in the end.”

And Professor Ken Spours from UCL Institute of Education concluded:

“Whatever the outcome of Brexit it will magnify the skills issues. Education and employers need to accelerate radical collaborative ways of working to raise innovative capacities in both further education colleges and workplaces. The future of FE and its esteem is tied up with innovation, we want to shape this future not be shaped by it.”