Leading figures from across the FE sector have joined the Independent Commission on Lifelong Learning created by the Liberal Democrats, Tes can reveal.
The chair of the commission has said it will make “bold and far-reaching” recommendations, which will be “informed by open and wide-reaching engagement”.
Rajay Naik, chief executive of Keypath Education and former director of the Open University, made his comments as the expert panel for the commission, launched by Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable in March, was confirmed.
The list of members, seen by Tes, includes the chief executives of the Association of Colleges, the Workers' Educational Association and the Learning and Work Institute, as well as the president of the National Union of Students and the chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts.
The commission plans to publish its views on the current range of study options for adults in June, before receiving evidence on how those routes can be incentivised and encouraged. It will consider the viability of ideas such as Individual Learning Accounts, as well as other options to increase access to further education, online learning, part-time study and retraining services.
Sir Vince said: “This is a high-calibre group chaired by Rajay Naik and I’m very pleased that they are looking into this important but often overlooked part of the education and skills landscape. They have made an impressive start and I am sure that they will identify strong proposals to increase opportunities to access education and training, particularly in light of fast-paced economic and technological change.”
Mr Naik said: “I am delighted that we have brought together such an outstanding panel. Our team will now be consulting widely to ensure that we fully understand the barriers to adult study and bring forward practical and ambitious plans to ensure that our nation has the skills it needs to succeed.”
- Rajay Naik – chief executive, Keypath Education (chair)
- David Barrett – associate director of fair access and participation, Office for Students
- Professor Stuart Croft – vice chancellor and president, the University of Warwick
- Stephen Evans – chief executive, Learning and Work Institute
- David Hughes – chief executive, Association of Colleges
- Sir Simon Hughes – external adviser to the Open University
- Shakira Martin – president, National Union of Students
- Polly Mackenzie – director, Demos
- Dame Ruth Silver – president, Further Education Trust for Leadership
- Ruth Spellman – chief executive and general secretary, Workers' Educational Association
- Matthew Taylor – chief executive, Royal Society of Arts
- John Widdowson – principal, New College Durham