NEW: @BorisJohnson has said he wants to to end the “pointless, snooty, and frankly vacuous” distinction between technical/academic education... we've been here will it be different this time? 1/thread…
@BorisJohnson First the speech itself (worth quick read) but an important statement of intent; sends signal (as insider tells me) that Augar Review is "very much live" - or rather resuscitated after @theresa_may
era /2…
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may BUT as Sir Chris Husbands @Hallam_VC says the revealed preference of last 50 years is that kids want to do three-year degrees...the question is whether the govt can change the 'terms of trade' in the HE/FE marketplace. /3
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC I guess at this point it's easy to be defeatist (we have been here before) but it's worth noting that there does seem to be political will inside govt to tackle this issue - whether it's possible in #COVID19 times; whether @hmtreasury thwarts ambitions, we'll see. /4
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury The solutions will be a mixture of "carrots and sticks" first some carrots.

The govt is fast-tracking £200m to spend on Further Education colleges dilapidated estates...they need to make these places kids want to go /5
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury These courses are also cheaper than Uni courses and often don't mean that you have to go away and rack up further debts...

But as @JohnLaramy CEO of Exeter College explains, you need to make the "sell" - get kids to see virtue of education that leads clearly to £££ in pocket /6
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy The second part of that, as @JoJohnsonUK explains is shifting some of the road blocks from 'modular' learning...transferring educational 'credits', and ending rule that means cannot go back and study at same or lower level than you've already studied at/7
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK Which is why the govt wants its Lifelong Learning credits that mean you can have loans four years of education across a life time...partly to address the huge drop of in adult education, down 40+% since 2012 per @ukhesa data /8
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa This all makes sense since - as Social Market Foundation @SMFthinktank
boss @jameskirkup observes in modern world being good at essay-writing at 21 can't equip you for a 50 year career...And yet while all this might be true, can the govt shift 18yo and adult choices? /9
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa @SMFthinktank @jameskirkup This the big question and it brings us onto the 'sticks' part of the conversation....this govt is clear (the manifesto was clear) that it wants more students studying "productive" courses, not least because nearly 50-odd % of loans aren't paid off . /10
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa @SMFthinktank @jameskirkup It wants to shepherd students into - to quote one insider - doing courses that are "more local and cheaper" and more directly address skills shortages, which are legion, and steer students away from reflexively opting for a three-year degree, which is seen as "proper"/11
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa @SMFthinktank @jameskirkup They note that Germany and USA really doesn't have - PM's words - the "snooty" distinction between vocational/academic which when you talk to people like @AdaCollege CEO Mark Smith, as my colleague @bethanstaton did, clearly still exists /12
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa @SMFthinktank @jameskirkup @AdaCollege @bethanstaton So among the sticks could be Augar-type ideas like grade thresholds - say minimum 3 Ds to get to univ - or shifting/toughening/differentiating terms of student loan repayments to make people think harder about taking on an arts degree that isn't like to pay dividends.../13
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa @SMFthinktank @jameskirkup @AdaCollege @bethanstaton The problem is that these are blunt instruments and risk a highly reductionist approach to education and - as @JoJohnsonUK and @DavidWilletts3 have argued risk squeezing/deterring the very people who have only just benefitted from access to HE/FE education /14
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa @SMFthinktank @jameskirkup @AdaCollege @bethanstaton @DavidWilletts3 Because obsession with STEM is all well and good, but in a services economy you really need the entire gamut - the design, marketing, managerial etc skills that make the world go around.

We all 'drive' cars and computers without needing to know how to code/engineer them /15
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa @SMFthinktank @jameskirkup @AdaCollege @bethanstaton @DavidWilletts3 With the spending review coming, time will tell how ambitious the government is going to be in really re-shaping the adult and 18+ education landscape, but it really is quite core to this government's out look - and noteworthy that @BorisJohnson gave that speech /16
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa @SMFthinktank @jameskirkup @AdaCollege @bethanstaton @DavidWilletts3 The question is whether it will be quite radical, or much more incremental - for example (as Johnson hinted) giving more "flexibility" to businesses on the apprenticeship levy and how it is defined/spent /18
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa @SMFthinktank @jameskirkup @AdaCollege @bethanstaton @DavidWilletts3 Because right now there is a skills shortage as this British Chambers @britishchambers
report shows - and biz, in current conditions, can address these gaps with targetted shorter interventions rather than committing to a 3/4-year scheme /19…
@BorisJohnson @theresa_may @Hallam_VC @hmtreasury @JohnLaramy @JoJohnsonUK @ukhesa @SMFthinktank @jameskirkup @AdaCollege @bethanstaton @DavidWilletts3 @britishchambers And all that, without talking about #COVID19 and extent to which that will change attitudes as unemployed (often least skilled let go first) seek to retrain, which itself might be catalyst for some change.

All this key thing to watch between now and 2024//ENDS

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More from @pmdfoster

13 Oct
NEW: Where EU chemicals Assoc boss Marco Mensink @MMens and UK's Assoc Simon Marsh @See_Chem_Bus warn of coming "double whammy" to chemicals industry from #Brexit and new EU rules - now accepting deal will be v thin. via @FT w @Michael_Pooler
/1… Image
@MMens @See_Chem_Bus @FT @Michael_Pooler Both bosses now seem to accept that a data-sharing deal to enable UK to build parallel REACH chemicals database won't happen - but still want decent Annex in FTA on chemicals to try and mitigate damage - details on dual registration regime here/2

@MMens @See_Chem_Bus @FT @Michael_Pooler The immediate issue is that UK companies will need a EU "only representative" for trade in EU (not clear that high % yet done this) which is worrying @MMens and others.../3
Read 6 tweets
13 Oct
Lord Agnew to @CommonsTreasury says "I cannot give you a date" when the Northern Ireland border operating model will be published. Admits "I am worried about it" given sensitivities. #Brexit…
@CommonsTreasury Adds 200 NI businesses have registered for the govt £200m Trader Support Service, out of 10,000 traders that need to be reached by "D-Day".

Reasonably confident they'll get rest signed up, but again admits worried. /2
@CommonsTreasury Explains delay in announcing TSS because govt was "agonising" over monopolising a service that should be provided by private sector. Admits, again "I am very worried about it." [Being ready] /3
Read 12 tweets
9 Oct
A third of businesses still believe the #Brexit transition period will be extended says @cabinetofficeuk perm sec - this has always been big issue with preps: however good they are, they must be communicated effectively to business /1…
@cabinetofficeuk And the fact that a third of businesses still think there will be an extension just shows you how hard that is - some are just busy with #COVID19 others as Chisolm says just don't believe warnings any more after all the false starts/2
@cabinetofficeuk And as we've seen with trying to get industry to hire and train customs agents, the govt/whitehall can't operate in a vacuum.

No good just launching a £50m grant scheme without trying to understand industry views of risk & appetite to hire during #COVID19 times /3
Read 7 tweets
5 Oct
A worrying bellwether for 'Global Britain'? Analysis of Horizon2020 grants by @ben_osswald
@jochenpierk shows that UK business international collaborations via the program DOWN by nearly 50% - while other EU nations are UP - my latest via @ft /2…
@ben_osswald @jochenpierk @FT You can read the whole paper here, but below is a key chart for what they found on business collaborations - UK had 15,900 international research partners in Europe in 2016...that figure had fallen to 8,300 by 2019 /2…
@ben_osswald @jochenpierk @FT At the same time - see raw data table below - collaboration of the three major advanced EU economies (France, Germany, Italy) all went up by between a third and a quarter. /3
Read 8 tweets
2 Oct
So. End of another long #brexit trade negotiations week...which ended in more stalemate over fish and LPF/subsidies...but it is subsidies where it's really fundamentally stuck, it seems. And that's important, because the 'state aid' row is really a proxy #Brexit as a whole 1/
No surprises that we're still stuck at the "no breakthoughs, but no breakdown" equilibrium...but the meeting with @BorisJohnson and @vonderleyen will be critical. The UK have wanted to escalate beyond @MichelBarnier, the question is what they'll find now they've got there. /2
@BorisJohnson @vonderleyen @MichelBarnier In a nutshell this comes down to how many strings must come attached to a 'zero tariff, zero quota' Free Trade Agreement - the UK says the single market is going behind a customs barrier, so the EU really can't demand these kind of LPF strings./3
Read 20 tweets
30 Sep
Today in a leaked letter Lord Frost concedes that EU will not give UK preferential trade terms to UK cars...but that is not what @BorisJohnson
promised on 2019 election trail. So does that matter? 1/thread…
@BorisJohnson First the letter (that was first reported by @faisalislam) which tl;dr says "we asked for preferential terms, the EU said no"....

This relates particularly to so-called 'rules of origin' - the need for a car to be 45% UK-made to get 0-tariff access to EU under an FTA/2
@BorisJohnson @faisalislam The problem, as @Petercampbell1 points out is that companies like Nissan and Toyota use parts from Japan and the EU won't let those count or "cross-cumulate" as UK-inputs....not that that should come as any surprise. /3
Read 13 tweets

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