HELLO AND WELCOME TO THIS FIRST EDITION OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION EXCHANGE, THE BRITISH COUNCIL’S NEW MAGAZINE FOR TEACHERS AND LEADERS INTERESTED IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND SKILLS.

Given the fact that youth employment issues are becoming increasingly important in Kazakhstan, we thought this magazine will be a great place for publication of news in vocational education and skills development, and we hope you will too.

Teachers in Kazakhstan tell us that they would like more opportunity to get perspectives from the UK, discuss their own challenges with others and get ideas on how they can help young people improve their employment prospects. At the same time, teachers and principals in vocational education in the UK have gone through many of the same journeys as colleagues in Kazakhstan. They also wish to engage with others around the world and if possible provide an opportunity for their students to do so as well.

And that’s what Vocational Education Exchange is looking to provide. 

In this, our very first edition, we learn more about some of the challenges facing those involved in vocational education – particularly in areas focused on students age 16-19 – how they have overcome these challenges and what, in their view, have been the keys to success. John Mountford, International Director at the Association of Colleges tells us about some of the challenges facing the vocational education sector in the UK and we hear from Pat Carvalho Principal of Harrow College and her curriculum manager, Owen Price on what these mean at a college level.

With thanks to our partners at the Education Training Foundation, we feature an article from the UK’s National Foundation for Education Research on what technical and vocational education should look like.

And perhaps most importantly, you will also have the opportunity to search the Education Training Foundation’s database of classroom materials – all for free!

We’re thrilled with the strong endorsements and support we’ve already received about this initiative from leaders in the UK’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training sector, including, Martin Doel CBE, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, and David Russell, CEO Education Training Foundation.

Most importantly though, we want to hear from you! What would you like to see discussed in these pages? This initiative is about sharing thoughts and ideas about the future of vocational education –so contact us via #VEexchange on Facebook and Twitter with your questions and comments.

I hope you enjoy this first issue.

Warmest regards

Helen Silvester

Director Education Wider Europe, British Council

Helen Silvester leads the British Council's work in education across 15 countries in East and South Europe and Central Asia. Her work focusses predominantly on higher education, science, vocational education and entrepreneurship - strengthening co-operation between governments, universities, colleges, and people in the UK and countries of Wider Europe.