It seems that this is the season to dish-out reviews in FE. In recent weeks it has been announced that both the Institute for Learning, and the Skills Funding Agency will be reviewed, and there will also be at least three different apprenticeship reviews (NAS on duration, Vince’s employer-led on standards and then there is the BIS Select Committee enquiry due to be announced shortly).

So while we are in the mood, can I put a request in that the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) is also reviewed?

Their £73.3 million grant letter from the Government says (in bold) that their “focus will be to secure a much greater committment from employers to invest in skills”.

So how have the UKCES interpreted this instruction from their paymaster? What does the UKCES mean by ‘employer ownership’? Well giving £250m of colleges money directly to employers it seems. Without an accountability after thought of course (see page 4).

Sorry, has the UKCES, led by their Chair Charlie Mayfield from John Lewis Partnership, all of a sudden become the voice of the CBI?

Surely large employers should be paying the professionals (colleges and training providers) for the delivery of training?

So let’s review the UKCES and see if they are on a path to “secure a much greater commitment from employers to invest in skills”. Maybe would should ask Chris Banks?

One final thought, perhaps the review could include a section on whether it is time the UKCES moved beyond asking questions.

I tuned into the Apprenticeship conference last week (see page 12) at which their Chief Executive was speaking. In 20 minutes he started 21 sentences with the word ‘how’. In true UKCES report writing style, let’s see those figures in full:

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