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CBI Education Summit 2008
18 Sep 2008
Held at the QEII Conference Centre, London

This CBI Education Summit mapped the skills needs of local and national business and set out for employers, schools and colleges how best to build sustainable education-business partnerships. In the context of increasing global economic competitiveness and a more flexible and demand-led 14-19 landscape, delegates explored the latest policy developments – including apprenticeships and recognising in-house employer training – that will meet the Leitch vision of a responsive education system and equip young people with the skills businesses need to be economically competitive, from the local to the international stage. Showcasing good practice in business engagement with local schools and colleges – from Diploma consortia to mentoring – this event outlined where the opportunities for education-business partnerships lie and how to maximise the benefits for employers and learners of collaborative activities like work experience and information, advice and guidance. Listen to Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners enthuse about the new 14-19 Diplomas that are designed to relate more directly to the world of work and allow young people to achieve their academic best. Diplomas would, he said, “…breach and perhaps end the damaging divide between academic and vocational learning.” The Conservative view, voiced by Michael Gove MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families was, however, rather less glowing. While he agreed with the principle of enhancing the education pathway and wanted the 14 lines of learning to succeed, Mr Gove had concerns about the rigour of the Diplomas and needed to be convinced that the qualifications would be “up to scratch”. He directed his main criticism at the Diplomas added by Ed Balls, remarking that “…the three so-called academic Diplomas that the Government wants to introduce are a mistake and a wrong turning.”