Developing English VET through Social Partnership in Further Education

Crowther, Norman; Addis, Mark and Winch, Christopher (2022). Developing English VET through Social Partnership in Further Education. London Review of Education, 20(1), article no. 32.



Recent debate has highlighted the Important significance of social partnership in further education for developing new approaches to English vocational education and training (VET). There is international evidence of the contribution that well-established social partnerships between employers, unions and government can make to deliver VET effectively. It is argued that in England VET can benefit from adopting and embedding social partnership models, especially ones in which further education (FE) colleges have a local and regional anchoring role. However, to date, England has persistently failed to implement any kind of significant social partnership for various reasons– a crucial one being government reliance on an employer-led approach to VET. A prerequisite for developing social partnership in further education is to identify and garner support for promising governance and cooperation structures. Such identification foregrounds a conception of a rich civil society and economy, with local and regional partnerships being essential enablers. An examination of FE colleges as part of a VET system reviews the benefits of establishing a coordinated skills system providing coherent local, regional and national pathways for vocational, technical and skilled work. Such a national VET system would integrate universities, employer training, the school curriculum and careers.

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