I read with interest the statement by the esfa yesterday and the comments by peter Mucklow. It is difficult to argue about his commitment to the three c’s of ‘collaboration, communication and clarity’ and working positively with training providers of all types.
I then read it again and again and started to think – why would he feel the need to make such a statement? – because clearly something must have been wrong in the first place. Providers have for years been complaining rightly about the lack of a positive relationship with the esfa – and there has been one common feature throughout that period who has now been moved on. But the damage done has been immense, providers being removed with no transparency as to process and procedure and a common knowledge that the ESFA were not in favour of private sector participation.
For those of us who operate beyond the sheltered walls of Whitehall and the ESFA, business only works with an effective supply chain. Toyota cannot deliver cars if the seat manufacturer doesn’t deliver the seats on time and thus everyone suffers. That is why an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or equivalent has to work WITH suppliers to make the whole system work to the benefit of the ultimate customer- in this sector the learner and employers !
Effective supply chains also require visible leadership. For those of us who have been in this market for many years. David Melville, Mark Haysom to name just two were well known figures who lead the organisation and worked with providers of all types. Where is the leadership now ? – most people would struggle to remember who the CEO is of the ESFA.
Collaboration, communication and clarity is to be welcomed but they are more than words; they need action which promote-ed has been advocating since we started. A few simple rapid steps would show commitment and demonstrate Mr Mucklow really means business:
- Start by creating a providers strategy group- and membership not by the same old faces with vested interests
- Scrap the funding rules and start again – setting the objective of defining the principles and listening where the rules are open to interpretation
- Host your own conferences which deliver your own messages as part of the supply chain model, make them free and operate them openly and transparently
- Recognise that the market is diverse and the existing ‘sector’ bodies don’t represent by any means the totality of the sector – indeed a significant minority of the sector
- Use the skills of the practitioners in the sector to make it better
- Operate with pace and with transparent planning
Without rapid action – the words will be meaningless.
Your 3c’s need to become 5- add commitment – just do it as Nike say and Connection – engaging directly with providers, listening and learning and using those bodies that are truely independent.
Finally, look at 30 years of pain of those Liverpool fans, turned around in less than 5 years through visible leadership from Kloppety Klopp. The ESFA has a lot to learn in terms of leadership which has been totally lacking since Covid-19 and for some time before that. Let’s hope the sector doesn’t get 30 years of pain but rather a swift turnaround of its fortunes in the new season which looks as though it is under new management
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