Westminster Higher Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
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Next steps for higher technical education - HTQ implementation, funding, coordination, and role within the wider skills and education system

Morning, Friday, 14th January 2022

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will be an opportunity to discuss the rollout of the newly approved Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) from September 2022, including their potential impact on skills needs and post-pandemic economic recovery.

It will be a timely opportunity to consider funding for higher technical education - including the Government’s Higher Technical Education Provider Growth Fund and for Institutes of Technology (IOTs) - as well as the role of HTQs in the wider skills system, and developing a more joined-up system moving forward.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote contributions from Cheryl Mendes, Head of Higher Technical Education, Department for Education; and Simon Field, Director, Skills Policy. 

Sessions in the agenda include:

  • delivery of Higher Technical Qualifications - progress and next steps
  • implementation priorities - support for providers, readiness and putting in place adequate capacity, harnessing the Growth Fund, and improving awareness and take-up
  • learning from international best practice and developing a coherent system for England
  • HTQs in the wider skills system - progression from the new T Level qualifications and other post-16 qualifications, pathways to HE, and achieving a joined-up skills framework
  • aligning HTQs with the needs of key sectors - including upskilling the workforce
  • the role of HTQs post-pandemic - addressing regional and national skills shortages, meeting the needs of employers, and supporting economic recovery and social mobility
  • priorities for the approval scheme and the future outlook for HTQs


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from BEIS; Department for International Trade; and the Welsh Government. Also due to attend are representatives from CCEA; Hartpury University; Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub; University College Birmingham; and University of Hull.

Press passes have been reserved by representatives from University Business.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from employers and industry representatives, Institutes of Technology, local authorities, further education colleges, universities, trade unions, think tanks, academics, schools and awarding bodies, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials are made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Simon Field

Director, Skills Policy

Keynote Speakers

Simon Field

Director, Skills Policy

Cheryl Mendes

Head of Higher Technical Education, Department for Education


Baroness Garden

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Further Education and Lifelong Learning


Rebecca Mameli

Head of Higher Education Research and Qualifications, Pearson

Professor Martin Jones

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Staffordshire University

Parisa Shirazi

Head of Skills Development and International Competition, WorldSkills UK

Steve Mariadas

Chief Executive, South West Institute of Technology

David Hughes

Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

Jacky Hinton

Director of Apprenticeships and HTQs, The Open University

Professor Graeme Atherton

Head of the Centre for Levelling Up, University of West London; and Director, Neon