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John Hayes calls for a new arts and crafts movement

John Hayes believes that it is time to debate the way practical skills are taught, learnt and valued, and wants to hear your opinions.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Skills minister John Hayes has signalled a new vision for craft and vocational skills. Before his speech at the RSA he spoke of the need to acknowledge the importance of practical skills and announced an ambition to create a new and prestigious award for Craft.

The Minster would like to discuss the value of practical skills and wants to hear your opinions on how they are important for modern Britain. Join the discussion on starting a new arts and crafts movement and add your comments below.

The craft so long to lerne: skills and their place in modern Britain

John Hayes visited the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) on Tuesday 26 October. He spoke of the need to continue to promote the teaching and learning of practical skills, even at a time of reduced Government spending, and about his ambition to raise the social and economic status of crafts and those who practise them.

The minister described how practical skills have evolved through history and the role they must now play in contributing to both the growth of the economy, as well as a person’s job prospects and wellbeing.

Mr. Hayes also called for a “revaluation” of the way that skills are seen and the value they add to life experience and the character of a civil society, as well as to the economy in order to stimulate and maintain growth. The four ways in which the minister says the system can grow are:

  • Continuing and intensifying efforts to re-establish the apprenticeship as the primary form of practical training;
  • Re-evaluating and redefining what sector led skills system with a place for Guilds might look like;
  • Continue to support and protect adult community learning and the role it plays in enriching the lives of individuals and contribute to local communities;
  • Break down the barriers to progression so the route for any individual from basic skills to higher learning is accessible and effective.

John Hayes, said:

“For decades, people have been calling for greater parity of esteem between academic and vocational qualifications. But those calls have invariably fallen on deaf ears. Instead, we’ve seen the demotion of practical learning.

“The Arts and Crafts movement recognised the unbreakable link between satisfaction in work and quality of life - between craft and beauty.

“It’s been clear since even before guilds and livery companies existed that different sectors require specific skills, and that it therefore makes sense for sectoral bodies to be closely involved in designing training and qualifications and in setting standards.

“I know that the sector skills councils, trade organisations, livery companies and others are keen to build on the good work they already do. That’s why the Government will work to establish a circle of Guilds to be at the heart of the re-evaluation of the power of practical learning”

The government is now working to support a new award for excellence in the crafts, John Hayes added;

“I think it is right that excellence should be rewarded and the Government will work over the next few months with those working to support the crafts, including the various charities under the Patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, to encourage and reward excellence in this area.”


Join the discussion

Skills Minister John Hayes wants to hear your opinions on the importance of skills in modern Britain, and you can leave comments in the box below.

Topics you may want to comment on could be;

  • Are practical / craft skills as important as academic skills?
  • How could we encourage more young people to take part in Apprenticeships and other vocational learning?
  • How might we persuade the brightest young people to see vocational learning as a valid alternative to higher education?
  • The minister suggested people with practical/technical skills may derive greater satisfaction than office-based workers with academic skills - do you agree?

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Published 26 October 2010