On Friday 21 October, the University co-hosted a special roundtable event with ResPublica’s Lifelong Education Commission (LEC) to discuss the future role of microcredentials in the UK skills system.
In June, Staffordshire University and the LEC published a report authored by Mark Morrin which identified the potential of microcredentials to address current and future skills gaps.
The roundtable was an opportunity to follow up the report recommendations and to discuss potential ways forward using the Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE) as a mechanism for facilitating social mobility and place-based economic transformation through bite-sized learning opportunities.
Dr Annabel Kiernan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education at Staffordshire University, said: “Staffordshire University was an early adopter of microcredentials and delivers a large portfolio of flexible professional training and short courses, while also providing access to progression pathways to higher education.
“The roundtable was an excellent discussion on the place of microcredentials in the education and skills space as well as the ways in which LLE may afford opportunities to build on this type of lifelong learning. The conversation was a significant policy exploration as well as articulating the next steps for developing a microcredential offer in the region.”
Chaired by ResPublica Director Philip Blond, the roundtable brought together the Department for Education’s Director General Paul Kett, Director of Apprenticeships Peter Mucklow and Deputy Director of Lifelong Loan Entitlement Tom Lee alongside small business, local government, further education partners and industry representatives from across the region. National stakeholders were also in attendance including Rt Hon Justine Greening, the Royal Academy of Engineers, the Office for Students and colleagues from the HE sector.
Dr Kiernan organised an opportunity to showcase the University’s extensive work-related learning portfolio to the visitors from the DfE, including simmersive learning, enterprise engagement and higher degree apprenticeships involving colleagues Emily Browne, John Hendy, Marek Hornak, Maighread Hegarty and Ian Davies.
The visit also included a tour of Staffordshire University’s award-winning Woodlands Day Nursery and Forest School, hosted by Jim Pugh and Amanda Sherratt. Visitors were shown around the facilities and had a glimpse of the forward plan for the full launch of the Forest School later this year.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Jones added: “This was a fantastic opportunity to show senior colleagues from the Department for Education some of the exciting facilities here on campus and to share how Staffordshire University is committed to being a catalyst for change in our region and beyond.
“We believe that microcredentials can play an important role in helping people to re-train, re-skill or redeploy to meet specific industry needs and the roundtable was an important step in making this happen.”