Sally Dicketts is AoC President and Chief Executive of Activate Learning

#CollegesWeek #LoveOurColleges - After two consecutively successful Colleges Weeks (2018 and 2019), it is exciting as we prepare for our third one. 

Even though it is a strange time for everyone at the moment, not least colleges, as the pandemic continues to alter people’s lives and communities across the country. We recognise this at AoC, and hope that our resources, guides, tools, and tips are making it as easy as possible to engage this year.

I have seen many of you getting your plans in place over the past few weeks. The #LoveOurColleges on Twitter is filling up fast and I’d encourage you to check it out, so that you can get involved and share your love and excitement for all things FE.

There is so much to celebrate, from the inspiring Covid-19 effort which saw the manufacturing of PPE to utilising college kitchens to provide food for the vulnerable. Colleges have helped everyone in the sector feel proud of the role they have played through this crisis – this week is dedicated to you and we encourage you to share and shout about your collaboration, innovation and transformational work which has had such a positive impact on your students and your communities.

I am proud to represent AoC as it has made such progress in getting colleges better represented, recognised, and valued in the halls of Westminster and beyond. The campaign was borne in the shadows of a decade of neglect that had hit student teaching hours, support, staff pay and colleges finances hard.

The mood now could not be more different, politicians of all stripes, policy makers and stakeholders see colleges as a priority that must be invested in and protected. It is down to your hard work and exceptional relationship building and campaigning that has helped to do this. But as ever, our work is never over, we must continue to push people to realise that our sector and institutions are at the centre of the biggest issues and challenges of the day. Particularly in relation to rebuilding the economy post-Brexit and through COVID-19, strengthening communities, and supporting people. Our time has at last come to be recognised for the differences we make in our communities.

This week will be all about bringing the impact we have on communities together with the clear asks to government about investment in and prioritisation of colleges. On Friday, we launched the results of a new survey we conducted amongst SMEs and their views on skills gaps. We will be talking about the findings throughout the week on social media and in the national press. Please look out for the findings, speak to your local newspaper and media outlets about it in a local and regional context. It was great to see that the celebratory feeling of Colleges Week, has already started on Friday as Tes hosted their FE Awards rewarding all the wonderful work of the sector. Congratulations to all the winners, it was amazing to see the contributions colleges make to young people and adult learners throughout the year.

So, happy Colleges Week 2020, share your ideas, get in touch with us if you haven’t already and I can’t wait to see all the fantastic work to make this the most inspiring Colleges Week yet.

Sally Dicketts is AoC President and Chief Executive of Activate Learning

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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


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Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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