The skills system is essential to our future success as a society, an economy and as individuals. Employers need a skilled workforce that is fit for the future. We already take a range of actions relating to the design of technical education with this in mind. We support employers to develop occupational standards and we approve apprenticeships and technical qualifications.

The Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022 introduced a new duty of 'oversight' for IfATE. It requires us to keep the technical education and training in our remit under review. This recognises the need to look at the skills system in action, to check it is providing what employers and learners need.

We are developing our approach to oversight in line with the three priorities set out in our 2021-24 Strategic Plan. These are: to deliver for employers; to build a simpler skills system, and; to secure continuous improvement. To review if the skills system is working for employers and learners, we will consider whether it has:

  • impact: provides valued pathways to and within employment to develop skilled workers
  • sufficiency: has the right amount and types of options to meet learner and employer needs
  • coherence: is coherent and meets labour market demands


Our approach

We intend to gather and analyse data from a range of existing sources. We want, as much as possible, to avoid placing unnecessary demands on others through additional data demands. Analysis of this data will enable us to build up a long-term view of technical education performance. This will help us ensure that apprenticeships and technical qualifications remain relevant. This view will focus initially on apprenticeships and categories/groups of technical qualifications:

  • individually
  • within occupational routes
  • collectively across the skills system

We will also aim to enhance our data taking on the views of employers and testing what we find with them. 
Our data analysis will help us take action to establish causes of any issues and identify if and where improvements may be needed. Based on this, we may act, including through our statutory functions, to make sure the skills system works for employers and the economy. Where necessary, we can raise issues with the Secretary of State for Education. We aim to communicate regularly with the sector and our partners on our findings.


Working with our partners

In carrying out our oversight duty we work closely with other public bodies. These bodies focus on areas including policy, funding, quality of teaching and regulation. These areas of activity all have a strong bearing on the labour market outcomes IfATE oversees. Where we find issues, we will agree how best to work together to resolve issues.

Our oversight duty is an ongoing commitment to check the needs of employers and learners are being met. We will continue to develop the approach, updating stakeholders as our work progresses.


Published 21 December 2023
Last updated 21 December 2023
(LD, NS)