Partnerships and Representation

Working with Stakeholder Groups

The TSNLA is well placed to act as the ‘voice' and representative of Third Sector providers of learning and skills. Through its Trustees, it sits on a number of stakeholder groups to act as an advocate for this sector.

The advisory groups where the sector is represented through the TSNLA include:

  • Skills Funding Agency Advisory Groups
  • Education and Training Foundation board
  • ETF Expert panels: Professional Standards, LEPs, Transformational leadership; and Apprenticeships Trailblazer                
  • ESF Advisory Group
  • Ad hoc SFA consultation groups e.g. sub-contracting, fees, RTO, funding simplification etc.
  • All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Education initiated by the WEA and the other Specialist Designated Institutions.
  • FE Reform and Localism groups

Trustee Representation

Several of the trustees actively represent providers and the VCSE sector:

Don Hayes (Chair TSNLA and CEO of Enable) is a member of the Education and Training Foundation board. Don also chairs the Professional Standards and Professionalism Expert Panel, which guides the Foundation on these core areas.

Joanna Cain, Deputy Director WEA, represents the sector on the Education and Training Foundation Expert Panels for the Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Initial Teacher Training Panel.

Tim Ward (previously CEO of the Learning Curve) sits on the Skills Funding Agency Advisory Board and has been the 'face' of TSNLA representation with the SFA for some time. Both Tim and Don represent the TSNLA and sector on the SFA Provider Readiness Group.

John Hacking (Senior European Officer at the Network Europe) is working on behalf of the sector in relation to ESF - particularly at the ESF Advisory Forum (Skills Funding Agency).

Stephen Jeffery (CEO of London Learning Consortium) is representing the sector at the Foundation expert panels on the Local Enterprise Partnerships and Transformational Leadership. Stephen will also be representing the sector at the Skills Funding Agency/Education Funding Agency Advisory Forum, and he is on the Stakeholder group for the London Skills and Enterprise Board (for the Mayor of London).

Stephen Howard (CEO V Learning Net) is taking an active role in the developments of the Apprenticeships Trailblazer, which is shaping a new apprenticeship focussed on working in the VCSE sector.

Cassie Roberts (CEO of Open Doors International language School) is representing TSNLA on the current development of an ESOL strategy and attended the launch at Westminster in October 2016.


Working in Partnership with the WEA

In March 2016, the Workers' Educational Association and Third Sector National Learning Alliance announced that the two organisations had agreed to work together when possible to promote and develop lifelong learning. As part of this collaboration, Joanna Cain (Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Education, WEA) is now a member of the TSNLA Board of Trustees.

Whilst having separate missions, the TSNLA and WEA have a common commitment to promoting and protecting the provision of high-quality, diverse learning for the widest range of adults, particularly those who are most disadvantaged and furthest from learning and employment. We share a vision of lifelong learning that supports social justice and cohesive, safe, prosperous, healthy and culturally rich communities. We look forward to more opportunities for closer collaboration and partnership working in the future. 

Ruth Spellman - Chief Executive WEA, Dr Cheryl Turner - Chair TSNLA


Working in Partnership with the Education and Training Foundation

The TSNLA works closely with the ETF and has delivered a range of funded training and development for the sector. Currently this includes the Professional Exchange project which concentrates on sharing good practice with Continual Professional Development across Third Sector learning providers.

Find out more about the Professional Exchange CPD project.

In 2014, the ETF commissioned a report on how the ETF could engage better with the Third Sector.  As a result of that research:

  • Don Hayes MBE, the Chair of the TSNLA, is now a member of the Board of Trustees for ETF
  • The TSNLA actively circulates opportunities and information from the Foundation to its membership base
  • Don Hayes ME is also one of the pool of experts that the Foundation consults with when developing it portfolio of support
  • ETF tendering guidance states that they look for tenders demonstrating engagement with a range of partners, including charities and Third Sector organisations.
  • ETF strives to ensure that all Invitations to Tender (ITTs) published via the Mytenders portal are open to Third Sector organisations