The commission on sustainable learning for life, work & a changing economy

Pearson is committed to enhancing the debate and body of evidence that can inform and shape the UK education landscape, and seeks to engage a wide range of stakeholders in what is a national conversation.

At a time of enormous challenge for our education system, and society as a whole - with the multiple challenges of Brexit, automation, changing demographics and other global trends affecting education and our economy - an independent body of work and public dialogue provides an important foundation for long-term policy making. It is for that reason that we commissioned former Education Select Committee Chair Neil Carmichael to lead this independent expert group.

The expert group is designed to provide a clear and independent overview of the challenges facing education in the UK - with an emphasis on vocational and technical education - and generate practical solutions.

The Commission will seek to engage the widest possible audience - including educators, learners and employers - to look at the factors driving our skills needs well into this century, how our current education system is or is not equipped to deliver them, and the innovations, changes and challenges that may be faced along the way.

This work will seek to build on the body of knowledge and evidence that has already begun to explore these topics, in particular the recent Future of Skills report by Pearson, NESTA & the Oxford Martin School.

In particular, but not exclusively, the group will consider the following six questions:

  1. Predictions about the future of work and skills, taking into account global and local tends, many of which have been documented in recent industry reports
  2. The relationship between academic study and vocational, or career, training
  3. The interface between employers/entrepreneurs and educators - establishing the equilibrium between supply and demand for skills
  4. The relationship between curriculum design and assessment/awards
  5. Routes & signposting in the education for the learner, including lifelong learning
  6. Access and barriers to institutions for learners and employers, especially in relation to diversity and social mobility

Commission members

The initial members of the group include:

Ian Ashman, Former President, Association of Colleges

Alice Barnar, CEO, EDGE Foundation

Rod Bristow, President, Core Markets, Pearson

Neil Carmichael, Former Chair, Education Select Committee

Jim Clifford, Partner, Bates Wells Braithwaite

Ann Francke, CEO, Chartered Management Institute

Nick Hudson, CEO, Ormiston Academies

James Kirkup, Director, Social Market Foundation

John Laramy, CEO & Principal, Exeter College

Ian Looker, Education Lead, PWC

Dave Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor, London South Bank University

Cindy Rampersaud, Senior Vice President, BTEC & Apprenticeships

Mark Stewart, General Manager & HR Director, Airbus

Prof. Geoff Wake, Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Nottingham

Other members, including a representative of the SME community will be announced shortly.

Get involved

You can submit written evidence to the commission by emailing

For media queries please contact

We are also seeking witnesses for our public evidence sessions.

These will take place on: