Post-school education and skills reform legislation: consultation

We are consulting on proposals for legislation to change what public bodies do in the post-school system in order to simplify responsibilities for apprenticeships and student support.

Ministerial Foreword

Equipping people with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in life and the world of work is key to our vision to deliver a strong and resilient economy and society, making the experience of the learner better than it is currently, ensuring employers have better access to the skills they require and giving young people sustainable employment.

Our education and skills system must deliver in two areas: people must have the opportunity throughout their lives to fulfil their potential; and it must enable vital research, innovation and knowledge, to underpin Scotland’s global competitiveness.

This presents a challenge, and I fully understand the nature and scale of the changes we will have to make, particularly at a time when people and businesses are contending with a cost of living crisis. However, what we heard when developing the Purpose and Principles for Post-School Education, Research and Skills adds up to a strong case for reform of the structures and processes underpinning the landscape. We need to change to ensure that we have a lifelong education and skills system in place that serves the needs of learners, employers, and our future economy.

The Purpose and Principles is complemented by the Withers Review, which set out many important recommendations for the skills landscape. Both Purpose and Principles and the Withers Review were published in June 2023 and we have used them as foundations for our post-school education and skills reform programme. Now, one year on, we are consulting on the proposals for change in the funding body landscape.

Our proposed changes aim to deliver better services for learners and employers, simplify the operating environment for our colleges, universities and training providers, and ensure best value from our public funds.

Your responses to the proposals and questions in this consultation are really important. We will make every effort to connect with, and to listen to, as many people and as wide a range of voices as possible – in person, as well as online.

In this paper, we will set out how we propose to manage the change we must make. We are seeking your views on this to help us shape the legislation before we take it to the Scottish Parliament; legislation which will help bring the change to life.

I look forward to hearing your views.

Graeme Dey MSP

Minister for Higher and Further Education; and Minister for Veterans



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