argues that colleges need to develop specialist, employer-led provision. That could come in the form of partnerships with individual employers, Local Enterprise Partnerships, or new branded colleges backed by blue-chip companies.
Alternatively, colleges could take on the role of consultancies for business development in their area - which the commission nicknames "McKinsey Colleges" after the management consultancy.
It also suggests that specialisation might be the answer to the criticisms of teaching quality made by Ofsted. The commission said that Ofsted data shows specialist colleges perform better: of the 17 specialist institutions, 14 are rated good or outstanding.
To an extent, the report acknowledges it is building on previous initiatives such as Centres of Vocational Excellence andvarious employer-college partnerships. What's new is the implication that an employer might want a branded college - or that they would pay for it.
Presumably, however, a Google or Starbucks' College would be a hard sell in the current climate. For tax reasons.
Does Wales point the way with emphasis on vocational qualifications? - December 3rd 2012
The FE sector in Wales has long called for more collaboration between schools and colleges - a desire that would be familiar in England too.
So it should come as no surprise that ColegauCymru, which represents colleges in the principality, has warmly welcomed the findings of a major review into 14-19 qualifications.
Led by former college principal and TES FE Award winner Huw Evans, the review board received widespread coverage, including in the TES, when it recommended that Wales keep GCSEs when England ditches them in 2015.
The report, published last week, also recommends that the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification, an umbrella skills-led qualification, be adopted by all schools and colleges as their overarching qualification, which was exactly what ColegauCymru had pushed for.
ColegauCymru chief executive John Graystone was particularly pleased the report avoided the "artificially stark distinction" made between general academic qualifications and vocational qualifications.
The report made a number of recommendations on vocational qualifications, including that the Welsh government should adopt the European convention of categorising them as either Initial Vocational Education and Training (IVETs), which are introductory and do not lead to occupational competence, or Continuing Vocational Education and Training (CVETs) which do.
Speaking at ASCL Cymru's annual conference last week, Huw Evans bemoaned the fact that the media wanted to focus solely on the planned changes to GCSEs.
"In reality," he said, "a strong vocational qualifications system is important for all of us."
Sixth form colleges fail to come to decision about collective switch to academy trust status - November 30 2012
After what was by all accounts a pretty heated debate about their future, members of the Sixth Form Colleges Forum (SFCF) yesterday voted to explore the option of becoming academies. But don't get too excited just yet: they also decided to consider not becoming academies. Oh, and a third option - staying as incorporated colleges, but increasing their engagement with academies and sharing their expertise - is on the table too.
But given the enormous consequences of the entire sector converting to academy status en masse, a degree of caution is perhaps advisable.
FE Focus understands that colleges are split on how they want to proceed: some are keen to become academies to secure a more prominent role in the system - and extra funding in the process. But others are, for now at least, unwilling to risk their independence and autonomy. But interestingly, both camps have signalled their backing for the course of action proposed by SFCF chief executive David Igoe: an "all of nothing" tactic. Either they all - even the colleges rated inadequate by Ofsted - become academies together, or the sector stays as it is.
This safety in numbers approach should give the SFCF a strong hand through its planned negotiations with ministers in the new year.
Should all sixth form colleges convert to academy status? - November 29 2012
Today is crunch time for the sixth form college sector. As TES reported last week, members of the Sixth Form Colleges Forum (SFCF) meet in Birmingham to discuss whether mass conversion to academy status would help them get the profile - and funding - they feel they deserve.
But would the government really want them to convert?
On the one hand, to have more than 90 sizeable and - on the whole - high-performing institutions collectively educating 150,000 students, volunteering to become academies would be a massive public relations coup for education secretary Michael Gove.
But it is worth remembering that according to most measures of success, sixth form colleges outperform schools by some way, despite receiving significantly less funding.
A collective move to academy status would force the Department for Education to fork out millions in conversion costs. And with the average sixth form college's VAT bill standing at more than pound;200,000 a year, it's hard to imagine the Treasury being too chuffed with the prospect of losing out on approximately pound;20 million a year in revenue.
The colleges would no doubt hold out for a decent offer from the DfE if they are to make the leap. They value their ability to borrow money on the open market - an option currently only available to academies in exceptional cases. And sixth form colleges are reportedly keen to retain their national structure negotiating staff pay and conditions; a concept that is anathema to Mr Gove.
Little wonder then that, despite the department making overtures to the SFCF about conversion in the early days of the coalition, messages filtering through from the corridors of power now suggest ministers are neutral to the idea, and content for colleges to make their own minds up.
Read our previous FE news blog