In October 2016, the European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (EfVET) held its 25th Annual Forum in Valencia, Spain.
Along with representatives from the European Commission, CEDEFOP and educational institutes in Denmark and Spain, Andy Warren, Skills Programmes Advisor, from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) was invited to speak about the Skillman project, and to share his perspectives on Vocational Education and Training (VET) from the point of view of industry.
The first session of the event set the scene: it debated the advantages between taking the Further Education as opposed to VET route; it appears that many in Europe are still struggling with the predominance of academic qualification for young adults rather than vocational routes.
Following this session, Andy was joined as a keynote speaker on stage by the Deputy Secretary General of the OECD (and former Finnish Prime Minister) and the Research & Development Manager for Global Education from a Finnish University. In this session he spoke about the Skillman project, and specifically, about the role that Sector Skills Alliances play in promoting skills for the future within quality VET systems, highlighting in particular, the value of partnership and collaboration. The primary focus of the speech was to introduce the Skillman Robotics project using a commissioned video to highlight the current skills challenges in Robotics and the platform being used to create Robotics curricula for all.
Jaguar Land Rover’s role in steering the development of skills solutions within robotics was highlighted, and the roles played by the other Skillman UK partners were described. Birmingham Metropolitan College’s objective of developing a targeted and innovative training offer in Robotics was highlighted, as was the role of collaboration to develop pan-European curricula to address industry challenges. Andy also gave an overview of the successful piloting approach being applied in the UK which involves developing solutions with local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to generate greater benefits from the project to JLR’s supply chain. AS well as showcasing the potential benefits of projects such as Skillman, the conference indicated a groundswell of support to tackle vocational skills needs across Europe, enabling young people to get excited about choosing more practical careers focusing on exciting new technologies.