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Jenny Holloway Speaks at the emfec Annual Conference 2016


Jenny addressed 240 delegates from across the FE landscape and discussed Fashion Enter’s best practices along with how organisations can be truly innovative in the face of change.

Opening the conference emfec Chair Linda Houtby took the opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work being done in FE and skills across the country. Attendees ranged from Principals and Governors, to LEP and Government officials, and to students and practitioners.

The event presented a unique opportunity for delegates to explore some of the most pressing issues facing us as a sector today in light of current changes such as the devolution of powers to local authorities and LEPs and Area-Based Reviews. It provided a platform for voices from across the skills spectrum to demonstrate how we continue to be resilient and innovative in response to change.

Following on from Chair Linda Houtby, delegates heard the keynote speech from Vice-President of Further Education at The National Union of Students (NUS) Shakira Martin who affirmed the need for a united sector voice. ‘Further education changes lives’, she argued, passionately putting forward the case for taking learner voice seriously in the process of Area Reviews in order to empower the next-generation of active and engaged citizens and expand opportunities for colleges.

MP and Shadow Schools Minister Nic Dakin then took the floor to give his take on the challenges that lie ahead for the sector, highlighting Labour’s commitment to lifelong learning and the importance of comprehensive Reviews that take into account all of the provision in an area. After answering questions from the audience, Dakin was followed by the first panel of the day, ‘Creating Innovation in the Skills and Education Sector’.

After a panel session delegates were treated to Jenny Holloway’s presentation and her ABC Awards Showcase Centre – Fashion Enter which has gone from strength to strength since embarking on its mission to revive the UK fashion manufacturing industry, launching The Fashion Technology Academy last year.

jenny speaking at emfec

Jenny Holloway commented:

“It’s the first time I went to the emfec conference and I was really impressed with the dedication and commitment shown to the FE provision. I find it rather heart breaking that the FE funding provision is being so effectively obliterated. I have spent the last five years of my life working on PTLLS, DTLLs, assessors A1 qualification and the TAQA qualification too. I was so tired in the evening classes I was virtually dribbling by 10pm but I soldiered on because I wanted us at Fashion Enter to the best possible training provision for skills in fashion. We need FE, we should be supporting people who have the potential to develop skills but may not be that academic. To hear leading academics predict that the number of FE technical colleges could be reduced from the current 300 to approximately 200 within the next two-years is just a travesty of justice.”

The final panel of the day focused on the Future Horizons for the Skills and Education Agenda in which Chief Executives including Stewart Segal of AELP and Jill Westerman of FETL shared with the conference their thoughts on the future challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the sector. ‘We are a sector that changes lives’, asserted Westerman, asking us to learn from our experiences and listen to every voice in the sector. The conference concluded with a vision for future in a conversation between Paul Eeles of emfec and Maggie Walker of ASDAN about the upcoming Skills Education Group.

Paul Eeles, Chief Executive of emfec, said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many delegates and speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences unite for our annual conference. This year’s theme is a challenging one but one that resonates strongly with all of us within the skills and education sector and, as we have seen today, we continue to rise to that challenge and come up with innovative solutions to adapt to change.”


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