The 16 people that will form an independent commission to set out a “new vision” for colleges in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have been revealed.

The commission on the “College of the Future” will be chaired by Sir Ian Diamond, chair of Edinburgh College’s management board, and also features BBC broadcaster Steph McGovern, chief UK policy director at the Confederation of Business Industry Matthew Fell, National Union of Students president Shakira Martin, and FE Week contributor professor Ewart Keep.

Other prominent names from education, industry and the media from across the four nations of the UK make up the commission (full list below).

It will be supported by key organisations from across the FE and skills sector, including the Association of Colleges, Colleges Scotland, Colleges Wales, the colleges in Northern Ireland, City & Guilds, the Further Education Trust for Leadership, Jisc, NCFE, NOCN and Pearson.

The commission will be working together to answer the question – what does the college of the future look like?

“Colleges are a central part of our education systems right across the UK,” Diamond said.

“But with so many critical challenges facing us, nationally and internationally – from changes in technology, aspirations, jobs and climate, to name just a few – colleges must take an ever more central place in public policy, as they are critically important for people and communities.

“The independent commission brings together a formidable team of experts and leaders to ask the fundamental questions about the role and place of colleges across all four corners of the UK.

“We will be putting forward clear recommendations, as we seek to ensure that colleges are able to play the critical role that they must – so that people have the right opportunities to get on in life, that no community is left behind, and that governments across the UK are able to meet the challenges of the future.”

The members will meet five times throughout the year, with the aim to release a final report with recommendations by Spring 2020.

An expert panel, chaired by Amanda Melton, principal and chief executive at Nelson and Colne College, will also feed into the process.

The commission said it will also hold a range of roundtable and workshop events across the UK throughout the year and will hold a number of public events.

Full list of the commissioners:

Sir Ian Diamond (chair) – Chair, Edinburgh College Management Board

Peter Cheese – Chief Executive, CIPD

Audrey Cumberford MBE FRSE – Principal and Chief Executive, Edinburgh College

Dr Stephen Farry – Former Minister for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland

Matthew Fell – Chief UK Policy Director, CBI

Lesley Giles – Director, Work Foundation

Professor Ellen Hazelkorn – Joint Managing Partner, BH Associates Education Consultants Ireland

Rob Humphreys CBE FLSW – Council member, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales

David Jones OBE DL – Chief Executive, Coleg Cambria

Professor Ewart Keep – Director, SKOPE, Oxford University

Shakira Martin – President, NUS

Marie-Thérèse McGivern – Principal and Chief Executive, Belfast Metropolitan College

Steph McGovern – BBC Broadcaster

Amanda Melton – Principal and Chief Executive, Nelson and Colne College

Paul Nowak – Deputy General Secretary, TUC

Nora Senior CBE – Chair, Weber Shandwick, and Chair of Scottish Government’s Enterprise and Skills Board

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