A new approach to skills for sustainable communities

Cover of The Egan Review skills for sustainable communitiesIn 2004 the Egan Review started the discussion around skills for sustainable communities.

The Review aimed to identify the skills necessary, and any potential skill gaps, to deliver successful, sustainable communities.

The review recommended:

To encourage people into built environment professions and other core occupations; address gateway educational needs by working with employers, professional and academic institutions; address professional development needs; enable continuous development and review; and manage knowledge for those in associated and wider public groups.

However, two assumptions underline these recommendations:

  1. Qualifications and skills are equivalent
  2. Once you have learned a new set of skills (or achieved a qualification) you will practice the knowledge acquired.

I understand these assumptions are practical in terms of the analysis but could we say they are realistic?

The Economic & Social Research Council and Homes & Communities Academy funded 11 research projects as a joint targeted research initiative on skills and knowledge for sustainable communities. The idea behind the initiative was to build on the work proposed by The Egan Review, and deliver a new approach to skills for sustainable communities.

The findings from the research were organised in five policy briefings and include:

  • The desire to measure ‘skills’ through qualification has a tendency to separate skill acquisition from the application of learning.
  • The need for greater recognition and more effective application of ‘skill sets’ that support working and learning across stakeholder groups.
  • A shift away from identifying and addressing simple skills deficits toward a more coherent understanding of the learning context in which those skills are required.
  • New ways to evidence and value all learning is required, beyond either qualification or immediate application.
  • Greater support is needed for the development of more opportunities to learn through practice.
  • The need to move away from the top-down, local government led managerial approach towards a more organic and inclusive form of transformational leadership.

These findings were presented this week (3 June 2009) during the Skills & Knowledge for Sustainable Communities event in London. The policy briefings, summaries of each of the projects involved and case studies are available from the University of Strathclyde.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: