Exploring England’s Approach to Upskilling and Reskilling: A Visit from Singapore Skills System to West of England Institute of Technology

9 March 2023

On Friday, 10th February, Claire Arbery, the Director of West of England Institute of Technology (WEIoT), Jo Watson, Deputy Principal Weston College, and Lucy Pope, Director of Business Growth & Strategic Accounts, from the Weston College team welcomed a delegation of 12 members of the Singapore Skills System to a skills sharing session at the Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Filton, Bristol. 

Claire shared her experience of the day: 

“The delegation was in the UK for a five-day tour of different further and higher education spaces, to discover how England approaches the upskilling and reskilling of staff within the industry. It was such an honour to be one of the few education facilities they visited; being able to showcase something we’re so proud of was a pleasure. 

The party included the Chief Executive of Skills Future Singapore and two of his deputies, the Chief Executive of Workforce Singapore and two further members of staff, Ministry Directors from Education, Trade and Enterprise, and two Directors of Nanyang Polytechnic; such a wide range of expertise and skills! 

The delegation were even treated to a presentation from Vice President of engineering giant GKN Aerospace, discussing the business and its skills development needs. The partnership with Weston College was also focused on in the presentation, and how this supports the reduction of GKN Aerospace’s skills gap. Following this, the delegates were given a tour of the operations and workspace within the GTC. 

The visitors were particularly interested in the work that the WEIoT had led in supporting the Local Skills Improvement Plan and the Strategic Development Funding for the region. Colleagues from Business West were also in attendance and spoke very highly of the collaborative arrangements and ways of working between all three organisations. 

We were thrilled with the feedback received from the Department for Education, who organised the visit; we were told the delegates found it to be an excellent session, and the most engaging they  had attended! 

It was an amazing experience to share with other countries the incredible work that Weston College and the WEIoT do for the local and regional business and economy.” 

The Chief Executive of SkillsFuture Singapore commented, “We learnt so much from our visit, and witnessed first-hand the impressive results of a tight collaboration between an employer and a college. We are also glad to have found out more about the work of an IoT, after having heard much about it throughout our trip!”