Limb to chair relaunched Lifelong Education Institute

The current chair, former minister Chris Skidmore MP, is standing down at the end of the month to focus on his work on net-zero

The current chair, former minister Chris Skidmore MP, is standing down at the end of the month to focus on his work on net-zero

Dame Ann Limb has been announced as the inaugural chair of the Lifelong Education Institute when it launches next month.

The institute will succeed the Lifelong Education Commission, which was set up by the MP and former minister Chris Skidmore to come up with policy ideas to “reshape post-18 education” and promote lifelong learning.

The commission has so far published reports on access to ESOL, increasing higher technical qualifications and, last week, recruiting and retaining teachers of technical subjects in colleges.

Its work is led by executive director Dr Marius Ostrowski who is supported by former college principal Andy Forbes, now head of development at think-tank Respublica.

Skidmore is standing down as chair on March 31 to focus more on his work on net zero. Limb takes over on April 1, when the commission is renamed to become the Lifelong Education Institute. 

Limb is also currently chair of awarding giant City and Guilds, which is a member of the commission, as well as pro-chancellor of the University of Surrey and chair of the UK Innovation Corridor. She was also the first woman to chair the Scouts.

She was made a dame for services to young people and philanthropy in the Queen’s 2022 birthday honours.

The new institute will “use its convening power to harness the talents of a full spectrum of practitioners from all stages and ages,” Limb told FE Week.

“Our education system is ripe for a top-to-toe strategic overhaul based on evidence and best practice, that places the teacher and the taught at the heart of policy initiatives and implementation at every stage of learning,” she said.

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  1. Thanks for the coverage of this, but in fact it’s author and former university lecturer Dr Marius Ostrowski who heads up the new Institute, while I’m his Deputy, focusing particularly on the FE and Adult Education sectors. Between us we aim to build a strong coalition of Tertiary Education providers, local authorities and interested employers to push Post-16 Education and Skills higher up the agendas of government and opposition. We’re going to do all we can to lead the debate and make Lifelong Education a reality across the UK.

  2. We are witnessing the Uberisation of education.

    Or in Republica’s (the self proclaimed independent think tank) words:
    “Who pays: how should lifelong learning be funded in the future? Can we move away from an unsustainable fee model to one in which universities and institutions can share in the earned value of a degree, almost as shareholders in learners’ knowledge capital?”

    In other words, more modular provision, increasingly funded by loans or business and not the state. (you can see why an awarding body would lick its lips over an expansion in certification).

    Cap student loans rates to be no greater than wage growth percentages and you might still be able to argue the case for education being a driver of social mobility.

    Where loans rates exceed wage growth you put a numerical dampener on social mobility. It also encourages the consumer (the learner) to shop around for a cheaper deal or perceived added value to get an edge. This in turn forces the supplier (the education provider) to manage their costs or deliver some shiny add-ons (gig economy workforce, lower quality core products).

  3. albert wright

    Who pays is the critical question?

    I wonder if the new LEI, Lifelong Education Institute, is a Trojan horse?

    I fear the right of every individual to a lifelong loan of around £40k will eventually replace the current Student Loan arrangements for under graduates too.

    I really hope the land grab by Universities fails and that other organisations delivering level 3 to level 6 qualifications are not squeezed out of the picture.