UKCES Masterclass sessions

Information and details on previous and upcoming Masterclass sessions, hosted by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

About UKCES Masterclass sessions

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) Masterclass sessions are run in partnership with the Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES). Each session is hosted by a guest speaker - a specialist in their chosen field - and offers an in depth discussion on the latest research, ideas and talking points on a particular topic. All Masterclass sessions are open for anyone to attend, details of upcoming sessions are included below, along with links and details of all previous sessions. For more information about UKCES Masterclass sessions, contact

Upcoming Masterclass events

Date Masterclass Details
9 February Productivity and the Labour Market with Dr Alex Bryson, NIESR Find out more and book your place

Previous Masterclass Events

Date Masterclass Details
January 2016 Understanding the New International Productivity Slowdown - the Role of Intangibles Jonathan Haskel, Professor of Economics at Imperial College Business School in the Organisation & Management Group, examines how the way economists measure intangible investment may be distorting our understanding of the global productivity slowdown.
November 2015 UK Productivity Performance - Some Lessons from History Nicholas Crafts, Professor of Economic History and Director of the ESRC Research Centre on Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) at Warwick University, looks back at the history of productivity in the UK, examining strengths and weaknesses of the UK economy in the context of international comparisons, as well as asking what role policy can play in creating change.
October 2015 UK productivity and growth heroes – recent evidence based on UK firm level data Does higher productive performance lead to high growth? Do high growth experiences help firms to achieve higher productivity? How important are fast-growing firms for the whole economy? In this session of the UKCES Productivity Masterclass series, Dr Jun Du, of the Aston University Business School discusses the productivity of UK firms and in particular the links between productivity and high growth, based on her two recent empirical studies. Watch the full session.
September 2015 Productivity in the UK: perspectives on the reasons for slow growth In most advanced economies productivity growth has been appreciably slower in the years after the financial crisis than it had been earlier. The difference was particularly marked in the United Kingdom, although the most recent data suggest that productivity growth has resumed, at least in the short term. In this session, Dr Martin Weale of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee examines the range of theories surrounding this ‘Productivity Puzzle’ and offers his perspectives on separating the fact from the fiction. Watch the full session.
July 2015 Widening the participation gap - the effect of educational track on active citizenship The notion that education should not only prepare young people for specific jobs, but also build more general citizenship qualities, is widely recognised. But is the sorting of adolescents into academic and vocational tracks an effective way of achieving this? In this session, Dr Jan Germen Janmaat, University College London Institute of Education, argues that filtering students into such tracks in upper secondary only creates an increasing divide in the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed for active citizenship. Watch the full session.
June 2015 Where next for post-19 VET? - some issues for policy, practice and research. This talk seeks to step back from the ‘surface babble of policy’ and to explore some of the fundamental issues and trends that will underlie post-19 vocational education and training (VET) policy over the next few years. It takes as its starting point the BIS Consultation paper on a Dual Mandate for FE, which appears to encapsulate the Department’s ‘wish list’ for policy development. The talk will explore some of the tensions and contradictions that lie at the heart of policy development in this field, and suggest how these might play out in what seems likely to be an ongoing ‘era of austerity’. The talk will also pose some challenges for policy makers, practitioners, stakeholder groups (especially employers), and for the research community. Watch the full session.
April 2015 Graduate Jobs: Concept, Measurement and Analysis The idea of the graduate job is central to debates about the expansion of higher education. But what exactly is meant by “graduate jobs”, and have they become more widespread? Is the traditional presumption still true, that graduates are only succeeding if they join professional and managerial occupations? In this talk Professor Francis Green will discuss the concept and measurement of graduate jobs, present some recent trends on the employment of graduates in Britain, and some international comparisons. Watch the full session
March 2015 Industrial clusters, learning and VET: future challenges for Local Enterprise Partnerships Professor David Guile of the Institute of Education, University College London, will present our next UKCES Masterclass, discussing current issues with the nature, scale and location of processes that support innovation and regeneration at local levels. The session will also highlight the ways in which employers facilitate learning, and the interaction between firms and educational institutions - looking specifically at the challenges faced by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) looking to align vocational education and training, and economic and social regeneration. Watch the full session
January 2015 Youth Transitions Professor Karen Evans and Professor Ingrid Schoon of the University of London examine the ways in which young people make the transition from education to work, examining what factors affect such shifts and asking ‘Where next for youth transition policies?’ Watch the full session
December 2014 Apprenticeship and occupation Professor Alison Fuller explains the links between apprenticeships and occupation, looking at current and historic trends in apprenticeships and what we can learn from them. Watch the full session
November 2014 Contemporary trends in training in the UK Professor Alan Felstead discusses contemporary trends in training in the UK, and examines what impact the recession has had on training. Watch the full session
September 2014 International perspectives on higher education Professor David Finegold of American Honours discusses international perspectives on skills issues, and what can be learnt from other nations to help the UK skills system. Watch the full session
September 2014 The Demand for Skills Professor Francis Green of the Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES) discusses the demand for skills in the UK and the ways in which skills demand and supply can better enhance the UK economy as a whole. Watch the full session


Published 6 March 2015
Last updated 18 September 2015 + show all updates
  1. New details added for November masterclass.
  2. Added holding notes for upcoming sessions.
  3. First published.