It’s all change!!

Posted on 19/09/2016 by IED

Tania Humphries-Smith – on a post- Brexit UK, political upheaval and finding the right way forward on many fronts

Well I know the saying, “a week is a long time in politics”, but that one week in July was hectic, even for politics. As I write this, in late August, it is now two months since the UK decided to ‘Brexit’, along with the ensuing chaos. I went to France for a week, after the AGM, with no internet. When I returned, we had a new PM, new Cabinet, a leadership challenge in the Opposition ranks and, sadly, several terrorist attacks had taken place.

While all has been turmoil at the highest levels of politics, other far-reaching changes have also been in progress, albeit in a much quieter way. The Sainsbury Review of Technical Education, for example, released in April, has triggered a reform of post-16 technical education – published jointly by the Department for Education and BIS as the Post 16 Skills Plan* on 8 July, and described by the government as “the most significant transformation of post-16 education since A levels were introduced some 70 years ago”.

Essentially, the plan sets out two pathways after GCSEs, academic or technical, with the technical pathway having two options, either an apprenticeship or a two-year college course, including compulsory work experience. There will be a maximum of 15 qualifications/routes, rather than the current 13,000 qualifications for 16-18 year olds quoted in the Sainsbury report.

The plan continues that both apprenticeships and the two-year courses will be overseen by the new, employer-led, Institute for Apprenticeships, with standards set by employers. The apprenticeship pathway will be funded by introducing a UK-wide levy in April 2017, with all employers with a pay bill of £3 million or more contributing through the levy. Two of the 15 named qualifications/routes (p22 of the Plan) are of particular interest to the IED:

Creative and Design, Numbers employed: 529,573; Typical job roles: Arts producer, graphic designer, audio-visual technician, journalist, product/clothing designer, upholsterer, tailor, furniture maker Engineering and Manufacturing, Numbers employed: 1,319,645, Typical job roles: Engineering technician, vehicle mechanic, aircraft fitter, printer, process technician, energy plant operative.

I might disagree with many of the ‘typical job roles’ and see the IED representing important cross-disciplinary jobs between these two routes, but what is undoubtedly the case is that these reforms will affect our industry sectors into the future; the IED should be an important voice for design and engineering, which are not separate distinct disciplines, whatever this plan purports.

*https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa...


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If you would like to contribute to any discussions, write to: Dr Tania Humphries-Smith CTPD CEng MIED FHEA FRSA, Chair, at:

The Institution of Engineering Designers, Courtleigh, Westbury Leigh, Westbury, Wiltshire BA13 3TA.

Or email: chair@ied.org.uk


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