Group chair appointed to steer FE Guild

Group chair appointed to steer FE Guild

An independent chair has been appointed as proposals to create an FE Guild take shape.

David Hughes, chief executive of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), has been appointed chair of a steering group.

His appointment follows a meeting of Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) chief executive Graham Hoyle and Association of Colleges (AoC) chief executive Martin Doel.

“I am certain we can develop a new organisation that advances professionalism, improves leadership and governance and helps to deliver even better learning opportunities across England.”

Mr Hughes said the guild — a single body to set professional standards and codes of behaviour as well as develop qualifications — provided a great opportunity to enhance the status and reputation of the sector.

“We need employers and practitioners, and the organisations that represent them, to come together to make this work on behalf of the adults and young people who are served by the sector.

“I am certain we can develop a new organisation that advances professionalism, improves leadership and governance and helps to deliver even better learning opportunities across England.”

He believed he was invited to become chair because of the “unique” place and purpose of NIACE; it did not represent any interest group, other than learners.

“Second, I hope I have a reputation for getting things done . . . and there is a lot of work to be done to build consensus about the purpose, role, structure and governance of the FE Guild. I hope to be one of the people driving that forward over the coming months.”

He said the steering group now had to meet employers, practitioners and representative bodies to debate and discuss what the guild should focus on, how it should be set up and what the governance arrangements would look like.

“That debate and discussion needs to be thorough, professional and intense. Our aim has to be to have the guild up and running in mid-2013, starting to develop its role and its activities and having an impact in the next academic year.”

It is understood that one of the steering group’s first tasks is to develop a list of functions for the guild.

An AELP spokesperson said: “Following the ministerial announcement accepting our bid with the AoC to create an FE Guild, Graham Hoyle and Martin Doel invited all the key players who supported the bid to a meeting to consider next steps.

“The group asked Graham and Martin to set up a small project team of four to act as a steering group for the project.

“Notwithstanding the agreed need to develop a guild that was employer (provider)-led, it was felt that an independent chair would be both helpful and appropriate.”

The AoC declined to comment.

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Editors comment

Mission Impossible 

It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.

And with David Hughes in charge of the steering group, the FE Guild has got a chance.

It was always going to take a brave man, or woman, to try to match up the seemingly competing interests of the two leading bodies.

The AoC’s marriage to AELP could be one fraught with troubles — public sector interests pull in one direction, while profit motives pull in the other.

Experience and knowledge of the sector will be required to strike the right balance. And David has both.

So FE Week would like to publicly wish him the best of luck in matching up the demands of the AoC and the AELP.

And that’s before you mention the plethora of other bodies involved.

Nick Linford, editor