Evaluation of National Skills Academies - Synthesis Report

Johnson C, Hillage J, Miller L, Bellis A, Oakley J, Sumption F, Tu T, Ginnis S, Gosling R | Research Report 39 | Department for Business, Innovation and Skills | Jul 2011

cover image

In 2008 the Institute for Employment Studies and Ipsos MORI were commissioned to conduct a two-year evaluation of National Skills Academies (NSAs) by the former Learning and Skills Council (LSC), now the Skills Funding Agency. NSAs were first established from 2006 and were rolled out incrementally over five rounds of development, under a competitive bidding process.

This report synthesises evidence gathered over both years of the evaluation across the following strands:

  • a review of documentary evidence including NSA Business Plans, and 3-Year Reviews for the four Round 1 NSAs
  • three rounds of interviews with NSAs themselves
  • two rounds of interviews with NSA stakeholders (including major employers on NSA Boards and learning providers involved with NSAs)
  • detailed case studies of NSA activity
  • qualitative research with employers involved with NSAs
  • surveys of employers in NSA sectors and learners registered on NSA-endorsed courses.

The report covers the first ten NSAs to become operational: four approved in Round 1 (Construction, Financial Services, Food and Drink Manufacturing), four in Round 2 (Creative and Cultural Skills, Hospitality, Nuclear, Process Industries), and two from Round 3 (Retail and Sport and Active Leisure). The longest that any of the NSAs had been in operation by the end of the evaluation period was just over three years.