FutureLearn, the digital learning platform, today announced the appointment of key industry leaders to an inaugural advisory board. Composed of leading figures across higher education, private and public sectors, the new advisory board will provide strategic guidance in support of the continuing growth and success of FutureLearn.
Chaired by Lord David Blunkett, the new advisory board members are:
- Sir Michael Barber, Chancellor of the University of Exeter
- Douglas Blackstock, President of the European Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education
- Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Chair Of The Board Of Trustees at the Institute of Cancer Research
- Kirstie Donnelly, MBE, Chief Executive Officer at City & Guilds
- Andy Haldane, Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Society of Arts
Professor Steve West CBE, Vice-Chancellor, President, and Chief Executive of the University of the West of England, Bristol
The advisory board will support FutureLearn in its goal of becoming the global go-to platform for career based lifelong learning. In 2019, FutureLearn, together with its partners, launched some of the first online microcredentials, which have since been taken by tens of thousands of learners. Last year, the company announced plans to move into the B2B enterprise market and has been developing its course portfolio to cater to workplace professionals. FutureLearn expects the LifeLong Loan Entitlement to accelerate demand for stackable accredited courses in key skill gap areas.
The new advisory board members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in areas that are closely aligned to FutureLearn’s mission to make lifelong learning, reskilling and upskilling part of everyday life. The group’s collective insights from higher education, government and industry associations seek to ensure the continuing relevance of FutureLearn’s activities and develop initiatives that provide value-add to learners globally.
Commenting on the new advisory board, Lord David Blunkett said: “I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new members to the FutureLearn Advisory Board. As FutureLearn continues its success in the digital learning space, I look forward to working with these talented individuals as we collectively draw down on our respective areas of expertise to provide strategic guidance that propels FutureLearn’s growth in the sector and provide access to education to all.”
Jo Johnson, Chairman of FutureLearn, said: “With more than two-thirds of SMEs and nearly 90% of large companies facing skills shortages, FutureLearn can play a vital role in enabling the re-skilling and up-skilling that learners and employers are demanding. I’m delighted that Lord David Blunkett will chair this stellar advisory board, which will help FutureLearn fulfil its mission of widening access to education and generating great outcomes for learners from all backgrounds.”
The FutureLearn Advisory Board is due to convene for the first time in March 2023 and will meet at regular intervals throughout the year.
FutureLearn Advisory Board Members:
1. Lord David Blunkett, Chair of FutureLearn Advisory Board
David Blunkett is a member of the House of Lords and a former Education and Employment Secretary and Home Secretary. He has an extensive involvement with education having taught in both further and higher education institutions and is currently Professor of Politics in Practice at the University of Sheffield, and Chair of the Board of the University of Law.
2. Sir Michael Barber, Chancellor of the University of Exeter
Sir Michael Barber has been an adviser on education and delivery to successive governments since the mid-1990s, and has worked for governments on every continent. He has also worked in senior roles in the private sector. He is the author of ‘How to Run a Government’ (2016) and ‘Accomplishment’ (2023), both published by Penguin. He is currently advising HM Treasury on the skills agenda.
3. Douglas Blackstock, President of the European Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education
Douglas Blackstock was Chief Executive of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), until his retirement in October 2021. He currently serves as the President of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), as well as serving as a member of the board of Qualifications Wales, and as a commissioner for the Lifelong Education Commission.
4. Julia Buckingham, CBE, Chair Of The Board Of Trustees at the Institute of Cancer Research
Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, was Vice Chancellor and President of Brunel University London, as well as the President of Universities UK, until 31 July 2021. She became Chair Of The Board Of Trustees at the Institute of Cancer Research in August 2021 and an independent member of Council at the University of Surrey in 2022.
Julia was appointed a CBE in 2018 for services to Biology and Education and elected to a Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2019.
5. Kirstie Donnelly, MBE, Chief Executive Officer at City & Guilds
Kirstie Donnelly is Chief Executive at City & Guilds Group, responsible for City & Guilds, ILM and DigitalMe brands operating globally, having first joined the organisation in 2011.
Kirstie has spearheaded the role of digital in transforming how people live, learn and work. Her commitment to this area was recognised when she was awarded an MBE in the Queens Honours for e-learning services in 2011.
6. Andy Haldane, Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Society of Arts
Andrew G Haldane was Chief Economist at the Bank of England and a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee until 30 June 2021. He became Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in September 2021.
Among other positions, he is Honorary Professor at the Universities of Nottingham and Manchester, Visiting Professor at King’s College, London, a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Academy of Social Sciences. He has authored around 200 articles and 4 books.
7. Professor Steve West CBE, Vice-Chancellor, President, and Chief Executive of the University of the West of England, Bristol
Professor Steve West CBE is the Vice-Chancellor, President, and Chief Executive of the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) since 2007, and is the current President of Universities UK.
Steve holds a number of national and international advisory appointments in higher education, healthcare policy and regional government and was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year’s Honours list 2017, for services to Higher Education.
At FutureLearn we want to transform access to education; making life-long learning, re-skilling and upskilling part of everyday life.
We partner with over 200 of the world’s top universities, brands and industry leaders to support nearly 18 million learners across the globe to develop skills and achieve their personal and professional goals.
We combine technology and our partnership expertise to help learners reach their personal and professional goals through short online courses, microcredentials, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
We bring together academic rigour with real-life, practical skills in our learning modules, to produce better learning outcomes and set learners up for success. In addition to top universities, we also partner with leading organisations including Microsoft, Amazon Web Service, CIPD, Raspberry Pi, Health Education England (HEE), Accenture, as well as being involved in government-backed initiatives to address skills gaps such as The Institute of Coding and the National Centre for Computing Education.
To learn more, visit www.futurelearn.com.