Labour Party Conference: Implementing Augar – how to revitalise post-18 education

Panel discussion

24 September 2019
Brighton, Holiday Inn, Ashdown 2

At this year's party conferences, the Centre for Progressive Policy will be holding a range of panel discussions and round table events on the social determinants of health, the future of adult education, and on measuring and delivering inclusive growth at the local level.

In the modern world of work, the ability to reskill and upskill during your working life is paramount. Lifelong learning is required if our workforce is to navigate increasingly disruptive labour markets and for many this will mean taking up learning in the margins of the working day, including ‘night school’.

However, at a time when rapid structural economic change is making lifelong learning more important than ever before, the adult skills system in England is facing significant challenges. Both funding and participation have suffered significant falls this decade, and both will have to be revived if we are to rebuild a fully functioning system. Meanwhile, central government is taking tentative steps towards decentralisation of decision-making. While questions remain, the direct of travel for devolution is cause for optimism.

At this panel we will be discussing the importance of and barriers to lifelong learning. How do we measure what skills businesses need and how do we provide the courses required? How do we inform prospective students about skills sought by businesses and their career opportunities? How do local decision makers identify opportunities and address barriers? What is the role of place and is the current, centralised funding model fit for purpose or should local authorities be empowered to take responsibility?

Join us as we bring together leading voices from across the sector to discuss how we set about building an adult skills system that drives inclusive growth.

This event will be situated outside the secure zone.

Read more about our series of events at the 2019 party conferences.


Andy Norman

Research Analyst at Centre for Progressive Policy

Andy is a Research Analyst with a particular focus on skills. He holds an MSc in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and a BSc in Economics from Loughborough University. Andy has previous experience in a UK based international think tank and non-profit organisations in Tanzania and India.

Mary Bousted

Joint Secretary-General of The National Education Union (NEU)

Dr Mary Bousted is the Joint Secretary-General of The National Education Union (NEU). She is also part of the executive committee of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), is chair of Unionlearn and was a member of the Acas board. Mary previously worked in higher education at York University, Edge Hill University and Kingston University where she was head of the School of Education.

Cllr Alisa Flemming

Cabinet Member Croydon Council

Alisa Flemming is a Councillor representing Norbury Park in Croydon Council. She is a member of the Children, Young People & Learning cabinet and chairs the Corporate Parenting Panel and the Children & Families Partnership.

Chi Onwurah MP

Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science and Innovation

Chi Onwurah is the Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science and Innovation and MP for Newcastle Central. Previously, she graduated from Imperial College London with a degree in Engineering and worked in hardware and software development, product management, market development and strategy for a variety of mainly private sector companies in a number of different countries – UK, France, US, Nigeria, Denmark. During this time, she also obtained an MBA from Manchester Business School and gained Chartered Engineering status. Before entering parliament, Chi Onwurah was head of Telecoms Technology for Ofcom the Communications Regulator. She has also been active in the Anti Apartheid Movement, and spent many years on its National Executive, and that of its successor organisation, ACTSA.

Kate Shoesmith

Director of Member Engagement, Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)

Kate is Director of Member Engagement and has been with the REC since March 2013. She is responsible for sales, marketing, customer service, and influencing for the organisation. Kate works on our key campaigns, including those on diversity & inclusion, flexible working, and youth employment & skills. Prior to joining REC, Kate was Head of Policy & Corporate Affairs at City & Guilds. Kate has also been an adviser on a number of external forums, including for Business in the Community’s Workplace Skills Advisory Group and to the UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report. Kate is also a college governor and was an advisory board member for Youth Employment UK.