After a successful 110-year anniversary event last year, the Skills and Education Group Conference takes place again on 23 May 2023.


This annual event is a highlight of the further education and skills calendar. It offers staff from the sector the chance to get inspired by keynote speakers, learn from experts in the sector, and connect with colleagues old and new.


Here’s what you can expect at this year’s conference.


Explore the pressing issues in education


The theme of this year’s conference is Levelling Up – an issue that has been high on the government agenda and the topic of much debate.


The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis have made tackling inequality even more challenging. The conference will look at how we can ensure equal opportunities, and the role the further education and skills sector can play in this. Our two panel sessions will explore some of the key questions relating to ‘Levelling up communities’ and ‘Levelling up the sector’.


Hear from sector leaders


This year’s conference brings together national leaders from across the sector, key decision makers and government officials to discuss the latest issues facing the UK. Join us on the day to hear from our speakers as they share their thoughts on a range of pressing issues.


Our line-up of speakers is below. You can read more about all speakers on the conference website.



Atholl Stott, Chair, Skills and Education Group


Ben Blackledge, Deputy Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK


Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE, Chair, Glastonbury Town Fund


Elysia McCaffrey, Chief Executive, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority


Janet Smith, Chief Executive and Principal, Nottingham College


Lee Elliott Major OBE, Professor of Social Mobility, University of Exeter


Paul Eeles, Chief Executive, Skills and Education Group


Paul Joyce HMI, Deputy Director – Further Education and Skills, Ofsted


Robert Halfon MP, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education


Rob Nitsch CBE, Delivery Director, Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE)


Shane Chowen, Editor, FE Week


Shelagh Legrave CBE DL, FE Commissioner, Department for Education

Be inspired by our special guest


Will Njobvu, TV and Radio Host, Capital XTRA – Will Njobvu is a TV and radio presenter whose infectious personality and talent for broadcasting has earned him numerous credits.


He talks openly about how he has negotiated his way through being a young, gay, black man in the UK today. As a champion of the LGBT community, Will is passionate about the importance of being comfortable with your identity and taking care of your mental health; as he too has overcome depression in the past.


Join us at the conference to hear Will share his inspiring journey and explore what it takes to become a more inclusive and just society.



You can also hear from Will Njobvu on our Let’s Go Further podcast.


In the first episode of Series 2, he spoke about the need for greater diversity and representation in schools and colleges as well as in the workplace.


Listen to the conversation here.

Learn new things and make new connections


All attendees will have the opportunity to attend two workshops at the conference, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.


These are a great way to learn about new topics and gain fresh ideas to apply in your job role. The workshops are delivered by experienced trainers from a variety of fields and are a stimulating and enjoyable way to enhance your professional development.


The conference will also include regular opportunities for networking and browsing our exhibition. A wide variety of organisations from the education sector and related fields will be in attendance to showcase their services.


You can view all workshops, sponsors and exhibitors on the conference webpage.


Book your place


Our conference promises to be an enjoyable and fascinating day focused on the key issues affecting further education. We hope you will join us.

Book your place at the conference

Book here

The Skills and Education Group Conference 2023 takes place on Tuesday 23 May at the Leicester Marriott hotel. Visit our conference website for the full event details, videos from last year’s event, and to book your place.

We look forward to seeing you!