Westminster Employment Forum

Conferences that are scheduled to take place before September will be conducted online.
The format will mirror physical conferences organised by the Forum with speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish.
The conferences will be chaired and there will be opportunities for delegate questions and comments.
We will be contacting all participants in advance of each conference with full information and guidance on how to take part.
There will be some exceptions where conferences will be postponed, for instance those that would largely involve key stakeholders in the NHS or emergency services.
All participants affected by this will be informed as soon as possible.
If you’d like to speak to us over the phone about any booking-related queries, please call one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7538736244

Lifelong learning and establishing the National Retraining Scheme - take-up, delivery and adapting to user needs and a changing labour market

Morning, Wednesday, 9th September 2020

Central London


This conference will focus on the development of the new National Retraining Scheme (NRS) - and wider issues around lifelong learning.

There will be keynote contributions from:

  • Ian Caplan, Programme Director, National Retraining Scheme, Department for Education;
  • Patrick Craven, Director of Assessment Policy, Research and Compliance, City & Guilds;
  • Iain Murray, Senior Policy Officer, TUC; and
  • Nic Trower, Senior Policy Advisor, CBI.

Further speakers include: Dr Fiona Aldridge, Learning and Work Institute; Simon Ashworth, Association of Employment and Learning Providers; Kenny Barron, Unite the Union; Joe Billington, National Careers Service; Lesley Giles, Work Foundation; Dr Susan Pember, Holex; Patrick Spencer, Centre for Social Justice and Juliet StuttardPwC UK.

It will provide an opportunity to look ahead to issues for the national rollout later this year, and to evaluate the first stages of implementation following the first phase of the NRS - in the Liverpool City Region, the West Midlands Combined Authority, the Leeds City Region LEP, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authority area, the Heart of the South West LEP and the North East LEP.

Delegates will assess the approach that is being taken to implementing the Scheme by the National Retraining Partnership - the group of government officials and business and trade union representatives overseeing the Scheme’s introduction.

We expect discussion on the phased nature of the roll out, and targeting older workers and those without a degree - as well as how the Scheme can most effectively integrate into the existing skills, training, and qualifications landscape, and adapt to user needs.

Attendees will also put forward priorities for the new government in growing engagement with adult learning. It comes with recent data from the Learning and Work Institute finding the lowest figure ever recorded for adults to have taken part in learning in the last three years.

The agenda

  • Developing the National Retraining Partnership - key priorities for implementation, collaborative working, and being able to adapt to user needs;
  • Funding, scope, and engagement with industry and the workforce to create an effective national retraining offering;
  • The role of qualifications in the post-National Retraining Scheme skills landscape;
  • Careers advice and guidance, retraining, and the impact on labour mobility; and
  • Lessons from the pilots and user research, and next steps for implementation.

Case study

  • Learning from international approaches to lifelong learning.

Engagement with policy officials at this conference

This Westminster Employment Forum conference has attracted strong interest from policymakers. It will be an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with officials who have reserved places representing: the DfE; DWP; HM Treasury; Cabinet Office; BEIS; DCMS; Defra; DfT; Department for the Economy (NI); HMPPS; HMRC; MoD; MoJ; The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

Keynote Speakers

Ian Caplan

Programme Director, National Retraining Scheme, Department for Education

Patrick Craven

Director of Assessment Policy, Research and Compliance, City & Guilds

Keynote Speakers

Iain Murray

Senior Policy Officer, TUC

Nic Trower

Senior Policy Advisor, CBI

Ian Caplan

Programme Director, National Retraining Scheme, Department for Education

Patrick Craven

Director of Assessment Policy, Research and Compliance, City & Guilds


Baroness Garden of Frognal

Deputy Speaker, House of Lords


Joe Billington

Director, National Careers Service

Jack Orlik

Research Lead, CareerTech Challenge, Nesta

Kenny Barron

Head of Lifelong Learning, Unite the Union

Dr Fiona Aldridge

Director, Policy and Research, Learning and Work Institute

Simon Ashworth

Chief Policy Officer, Association of Employment and Learning Providers

Dr Susan Pember

Director, Policy and External Relations, Holex

Patrick Spencer

Head of Work and Welfare Unit, Centre for Social Justice

Juliet Stuttard

Director, PwC UK

Lesley Giles

Director, Work Foundation