'It's just like windsurfing'

16th June 2006 at 01:00
Australian Steve Marshall addressed the fforwm delegates with a confidence that belied his brief spell so far as the new director of education, lifelong learning and skills at the Assembly government.

Just six months into the civil service job, he spoke with a relaxed authority about the changing landscape of post-14 education. He illustrated one point with his own experiences of learning to windsurf.

He was bullish about the government's agenda, and while he committed himself to getting, "as much funding as possible", he urged delegates not to lose sight of the "main game".

"We've got an opportunity to make a difference," said Mr Marshall. "Other people are looking to us. Let's address funding barriers but not lose heart about putting the learner at the centre of everything."

He acknowledged the scale of the skills gap - 18 per cent of employers say there is a problem - but insisted businesses must face the challenge as well as schools and colleges.

Jane Davidson, minister for the department, rushed off to another appointment, leaving the podium just as Steve Fowler of the Welsh Secondary Schools Association started to criticise funding levels. But Mr Marshall stayed for lunch, where he mingled and chatted with the delegates.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today