IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


VIRTUAL EVENT: What if... our education system changed for good in light of COVID-19? Part 2

25 June 2020, 5:45 pm–6:45 pm

IOE Debates the outlook for further education after COVID-19. Image: photo of hairdressing apprentice by IFA teched via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Part 2: Further education. What impact do our colleges envisage the pandemic and its aftermath will have on their vocational training offer?

This event is free.

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Kate Thomas

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As the pandemic hit, our further education colleges faced all the difficulties of moving teaching, pastoral care and governance and administration online.

Meanwhile, vocational education has been presented with particular challenges. The employment and assessment of apprentices has been thrown into disarray for many, and there have been calls to delay the launch of the new flagship qualification, T Levels.

It is not yet clear when the disruption to this provision, created by necessary social distancing to protect health, can be decisively eased or discontinued.

For the longer-term, the pandemic could bring marked changes to the world of work. Speculation has raised the prospect of nationalisation for some industries and ‘re-shoring’, as well as the rapid pivoting of business models amongst existing firms and the acceleration of labour-replacing automation.

Vocational provision for school leavers will need to rebuild itself in an extremely fragile economy, with different sectors differently affected. Equally, colleges will also want to support those already in the labour market but hit hard by the economic fallout of COVID-19 and in need of opportunities to re-train.

What has been the experience of our colleges since COVID-19 arrived? How can policy enable our college system to respond swiftly and effectively to the post-COVID context, for people of all ages?


  • David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges
  • Cindy Rampersaud, Senior Vice President, BTEC and Apprenticeships, Pearson Education
  • Stuart Rimmer, Chief Executive, East Coast College
  • Jill Westerman, Trustee and Vice-chair, FETL
  • Chair: Alison Fuller, Professor of Vocational Education and Work and Pro-Director (Research and Development), UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

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In association with TES




Photo of hairdressing apprentice by IFA teched via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).