More than 500 delegates attended the 11th national conference of the Association for Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), described as a “terrific” two days by outgoing chief executive Graham Hoyle.

The event in London was chaired by Chris Humphries CBE, the chairman of National Numeracy and the founding chief executive of the UK Commission for Employment Skills.

Half the FE Week team was there to meet the challenge of producing a 16-page supplement covering the conference’s first day, which included the launch of a ‘mini-manifesto’ and a speech from incoming AELP chief executive Stewart Segal (pictured below centre).

It was put together from a hotel room, and printed in time for the gala dinner. A copy is included with this week’s full edition.

The 2013 conference focused on sharing best practice between providers, emerging policy positions and extensive question and answer sessions. The conference also addressed issues such as improving support for young people in challenging economic times, better integration of employment and skills provision for the unemployed, and improving providers’ delivery to employers and learners.

The conference was a terrific illustration in how far AELP has come as an organisation in the past 10 years”

Delegates also had the chance to hear about the development of the Education Training Foundation, formerly known as the FE Guild, and to debate the possible devolution of skills budgets to local employer partnerships (LEPs). Doug Richard fielded questions on the government’s response to his review on apprenticeships.

Day one ended with the annual gala dinner. Following a three-course meal, delegates were treated to a ‘This is Your Life’ tribute to Mr Hoyle. Presented by Paul Warner, contributions were made by the likes of Peter Lauener, chief executive of the Education Funding Agency, and Geoff Russell, former chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency, who submitted a video message recorded while he was in Bulgaria.

There were also performances from DrumChasers and this year’s Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist, magician James More.

FE Week editor Nick Linford gave an impromptu performance alongside DrumChaser (pictured), surprising many with his drumming skills.

Graham Hoyle cutting his FE Week cartoon cake with editor Nick Linford

It was the last conference for  Mr Hoyle who retires this August after 11 years at the helm. To mark his farewell, FE Week commissioned our baker in Sydenham, London, to bake a special cake (see picture). The chief executive was presented with his cake, which featured a cartoon from our March 4 edition when we published news of Mr Hoyle’s retirement, during lunch on the second day.

He spoke to FE Week following the conference. “I have had a word with my wife about the supply of some of the photographs for the This is Your Life segment at the dinner,” he said.

“More seriously, I was greatly touched by both the tribute at the dinner and the other ones offered by speakers and AELP members throughout the conference.

The conference was a terrific illustration in how far AELP has come as an organisation in the past 10 years and I look forward to watching Stewart and the board building on the progress achieved.”

Mr Segal said: “I was particularly impressed by the high quality of the speakers. The publication of our manifesto also gave the event some real focus in terms of gathering members’ views on the policy
recommendations listed in it.

“This provides a great basis for us to move forward as we start to flesh out the detail. It is really important that AELP members continue to give us feedback on the

The FE Week team at the  end of the AELP conference gala dinner. From left: Rebecca Cooney, Helen Neilly, Shane Mann, Eleanor Radford, Hannah Smith, Victoria Boyle, Chris Henwood and (front) Nick Linford 

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.