The need for investment in the sector’s leadership
As we face new freedoms we also face new challenges, and in this current climate of austerity we need robust leadership for a robust sector. To achieve this we need to invest in the leaders of the future in the same way we invest in our learners for the future of the economy. LSIS is working with a number of recognised highly effective sector leaders to identify the skills and behaviours that they want to take forward and instil in our sector’s future leaders - which we are embedding into our programmes.
One of the first outcomes of on-going collaboration with the sector is the FE College/HE Institution Partnership Checklist, developed by the Mixed Economy Group (MEG) and its member colleges. The checklist offers a series of prompts for colleges considering expansion into HE provision. LSIS has supported MEG member colleges experienced in this field, to create a checklist for other colleges. The checklist is an example of how the sector is supporting itself as it is an enabling tool to help take forward the new freedoms and opportunities that have been set out in New Challenges, New Chances. LSIS will continue to work with the FE and Skills sector and partners to enable the sector to support its own improvement and to develop collaborative approaches to delivering quality HE, including progression pathways from FE to HE.
Last month saw LSIS hold its Student Governor forum, in association with the NUS and the AoC. Student governors are in their posts for a relatively short period of time and events like the forum give them the opoortunity to develop the skills they need to carry out their duties effectively to benefit the students they represent. At this year’s forum the main topic of conversation was ‘which is more important – to leave a legacy or to make an impact?’ The topic proved both stimulating and contentious - so much that the student governors continued the debate after the event on Twitter.
Similarly at our Annual Governance Conference delegates will be reflecting on how they can do the best job possible. We will be asking them to consider ‘do I have the skills, experiences, capabilitites and behaviours to support and challenge a future leader?’ This is a theme we have already introduced through LSIS’s Learning Boards. As stated in New Challenges, New Chances governing bodies will play a more important role in the operating of FE and skills organisations, therefore we need to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to do this successfully.
Later this month a range of senior leaders will be sharing their expertise at our Leadership and Management conference. The event will cover three themes; understanding the context for future leadership, next generation leadership, and skills development. The event has been designed to encourage the leaders of the future by providing them with the understanding of what it takes to be a successful leader of learning and learners.
When we think of successful organisations, we find great leadership whether subtle or explicit has always been critical to that success. Leadership at every level of our sector, for every provider, for the future of further education and skills has never been so important. I am delighted that we are continuing to work with you to make sure that the further education sector gets the leadership it deserves to make the most of our new freedoms.
Rob Wye, CEO
Last updated: 14 January 2013