Further education, skills & lifelong learning (SIG FESL)


Vocational education and training from post-16 onwards. Recognises that FESL takes place in a wide range of different organisations and settings, formally and informally – from traditional college settings to workplace locations to adult education provision, and a variety of community settings.  We are discussing two areas of activity. The first derives from our agreement that we do not want to be a ‘talking-shop’, instead we want to be a ‘learning-shop’ – sessions in which we can learn from each other and from external sources. The second is an outward-looking project demonstrating the value and role of the FESL sector in the national imperative to re-build the economy. This is, as yet, in embryonic form, we are calling it ‘ Ladders of Learning’, with the aim of showing those in power the importance of starting points and progression as being key to re-building the economy and creating social harmony. For more detail contact one of the SIG Leads.


Open to all in the Company with an interest or expertise to offer; external specialists by invitation; other Livery Companies and interested parties where appropriate and by invitation. Inaugural membership of 25. It holds evening meetings/ discussion sessions online using Zoom; may meet physically if members decide to do so. It has a directory giving members’ biographical details showing the variety of the FESL sector and the breadth of knowledge and experience of members. It has an active mailing list where members discuss matters by email but can also use ongoing chat rooms based in MS Teams. It seeks to share knowledge, experiences, ideas, information, understanding, good practice, current trends.

SIG LEADS: Michael O’Reilly/Past Master Susan Fey  sigfesl@co-educators.com

If you are interested in joining this SIG or receiving more information about it, please contact the SIG Lead above or the SIG Co-ordinator sigscoordinator@co-educators.com


See Company calendar for activities in the current year, with further Zoom meetings planned for 2022.


7 February 2022The Skills and post-16 Education Bill led by Patrick Craven, Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement. City and Guilds Chief Executive.

9 October 2020 – The Group considered the impact of Covid on the sector. There were presentations from Dawn Ward, CEO and Principal of Burton and South Derbyshire College; Mark Dawe, CEO, The Skills Network (until August CEO of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers – AELP); Andrew Gower, CEO and Principal, Morley College, London; and Carole Still, Head of Professional Development, Entrepreneurship and Skills, Coventry University, London. These stimulated an active discussion and many valuable experiences and practical were shared.

16 July 2020 – The Group was launched via a Zoom meeting exploring where the group should focus. It used break-out rooms for small groups discussion to enhance participation and interaction among members.  The session was recorded and potential plans for future areas of work identified Members were keen to discuss further funding & resources; motivation/resilience/aspiration; technology and digital skills; skills training; careers guidance: the academic/vocational divide; the ‘other/ forgotten’ 50%. Also arising during discussion were the fate of the various reports into the sector over the years, system coherence and regional disparities; and the FESL sector in the post-Covid world and the potential impact of Brexit, particularly where training and skills are concerned.


Material such as reports and information about group activities available from SIG Leads on request. The SIG FESL events have mainly been via Zoom and recorded. Please contact the Clerk on clerk@co-educators.com for access.