Banging the drum for the latest professional practice from the education-business partnerships sector, the first ever Institute for Education Business Excellence (IEBE) conference featured expert contributions by key figures from government, business and education, including OCR.
The conference, held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, was a thought provoking day of debate and the sharing of best practice attended by over 200 delegates.
Representatives from education business partnership organisations; the private sector; local authorities, and schools and colleges, considered the value and contribution of the education-business profession, and explored how it can respond to the challenges ahead.
One of a trio of high profile keynote speakers, OCR Chief Executive Greg Watson (pictured bottom row left) spoke about the need for skilled brokerage between education and employers. Greg said: "We see qualifications as a vital bridge - a way of brokering the relationship between young people, their schools and colleges, their whole education and the world of work and employers. Bridging that gap does require the most extraordinarily skilful brokerage and I hope our qualifications play a part in that. We need to be thinking about not just the jobs of today and the employers of today, but about the jobs of tomorrow and the employers of tomorrow.
"It's great to have forward-thinking employers like McDonalds engaged but skills training has got to be about developing a skilled workforce for many possible futures, not just for what's needed today. This is why partnerships matter so much. We try to do as much as we can to engage the widest possible range of people so that we can get the broadest perspective on how employment is changing."
Greg was preceded on stage by government minister Iain Wright (pictured top row right) and McDonald's Chief People Officer David Fairhurst (pictured bottom row right) who discussed the priorities for education business partnerships organisations and the benefits of work experience respectively.
Interspersed throughout the day were a series of best practice workshops covering a diverse range of topics including how literacy and numeracy programmes can drive local business support, the latest innovations in employer support for Diplomas, and what you can learn from the Australian experience in education business practice.
Afternoon sessions included memorable contributions from Adam Tyndall, Prime Minister's Global fellow and Natalie Stanyer, entrepreneur and WorldSkills winner, who gave the perspective of a young people in the UK as they leave the education system to begin their working lives. IEBE Chief Executive Declan Swan closed the event with an address - The Importance of Achieving Excellence.
Please view the IEBE website for more information.