From education to employment

7 more FE colleges to offer advanced technical skills with the OU in ‘cold spots’

students sat on steps with books and laptops

Seven Further Education colleges in England are set to get a boost to their higher technical skills provision with the aim to support more people to secure jobs and grow the economy in their area. The colleges will be supported for the next two years by The Open University as they look to expand the advanced technical courses that they offer in educational ‘cold spots’.

The seven colleges announced today are the biggest cohort yet for the OU national validation programme which was announced by the Department for Education last year and is backed by £10 million of UK Government funding through the Office for Students.

Many of the colleges announced today operate in Higher Education ‘cold spots’ and with OU support these local colleges will be able to deliver Higher Education courses that match the skills needs of the local community.

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said:
“Delivering high-quality and tailored technical training that supports more people into work, will give us the skilled workforce needed for local employers and the economy to thrive. The Open University is one of the great educational institutions that is working to do just this, unlocking the potential of all people no matter where they are in life, whilst improving people’s social mobility.

“That’s why we are continuing to back them to help bridge the gap in higher technical education across the country. Through delivering more higher education in further education settings, we are extending the ladder of opportunity to people wherever they live.”

Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said:

“Advanced skills training is vital to create thriving local economies, attracting new businesses, and helping others grow. Funding from the UK Government has enabled the OU to work with further education colleges to develop their technical higher education offering in their local communities. We are delighted to welcome the new colleges into the fold.”

John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students (OfS), said:

“This expansion of technical skills training will help increase diversity and choice within higher education, providing students with greater access to courses so they can advance in their careers. It is genuinely heartening to see such a clear example of a university and colleges working together, supported by the OfS, to take responsibility for addressing gaps in technical education, and support graduates to contribute to local and regional economies across England.”

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