Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands

Already on the road that the Commission on the #CollegeoftheFuture sets out for us 

As a big supporter of colleges, it a pleasure to welcome the publication of the UK-wide report of the Independent Commission of the College of the Future. The Commission sets out a bold ambition for colleges which I believe reflects their centrality to social and economic life.

And what perfect timing to be publishing a report that champions the key role for colleges than the week after Colleges Week 2020. Of course, every Colleges Week is an important time to reflect on the achievements and contributions colleges make in our communities and workplaces, but this year it feels even more important to say an enormous thank you to everyone working in colleges for everything they have done and are continuing to do to provide young people and adults with incredibly important support at this particularly difficult time.

Envisioning the 2030s and beyond, as the Commission challenges us to do, might seem like a daunting task when in the midst of an extraordinary set of day to day circumstances. But the last seven months or so have thrown into razor-sharp focus the Commission’s idea of colleges being essential local ‘anchor’ institutions. When asked to close their doors to all but vulnerable students and dependents of key workers, the pace at which colleges moved all teaching online was hugely impressive.

So too was the way I saw West Midlands colleges supporting local health efforts by manufacturing PPE, health and care teaching staff returning to the front-line and college facilities being made available to support front-line healthcare workers. And as we mark the launch of this important report, I want to record my thanks to colleges for re-opening safely which I know has been a challenge for everybody involved.

Colleges are for People, Productivity and Place

I am at one with the Commission’s overarching vision that colleges are for people, productivity and place. I can reflect confidently that we are already well on our way towards that vision in the West Midlands.

We work in tandem with the 20 colleges serving residents across Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Coventry and the Black Country. These colleges have come together under the mantle of Colleges West Midlands - a pioneering collaborative partnership that have worked closely with the West Midlands Combined Authority to develop and deliver the skills opportunities that our region needs.

The Commission highlights numerous areas where that strategic collaboration among colleges, providers, employers and local partners – working to respond to the needs of regional economies – is so important. Here in the West Midlands, we have developed regional strategies that reflect the needs of our area and the strengths of our industrial and skills base. And we have used our devolved powers to fund many hundreds of new learning opportunities – reflecting the needs of our local employers and communities.

These have been developed with colleges and employers, responding to current skills needs, innovating and sharing new curriculum, and partnering with other local agencies – such as JobCentres, Local Authorities and voluntary organisations, to ensure that we upskill all of our communities.

The Challenges of Devolution

The first year of devolution has been a challenge – but, even in these difficult times, we have seen an increase in provision leading to jobs, more high-level provision – at level 3 and 4, and more collaboration across colleges.

A good example of this is our Sector Work-based Academy Programmes being developed in priority sectors like digital, construction and health and care which will give people that are most economically vulnerable at this time the best chance of good secure employment in industries that are growing. You can see how new courses have been made available through the adult education budget and we are hard at work already on making a lifetime skills guarantee a reality in the region.

You can also see the sorts of longer-term strategic partnership working highlighted in the Commission’s report already taking shape in the West Midlands. Earlier this year, the region’s colleges came together to publish a Skills Capital Prospectus which took collaborative skills capital planning to a whole new level in ensuring the digital and physical resources the region’s students and apprentices have access to are industry-leading and are aligned to regional priorities.

It is one thing to believe in the key strategic role that colleges can play in any given place, but it’s quite another to put competition and organisational self-interest aside in the spirit of true partnership for the greater good of the community you serve. I am proud to say that in the West Midlands we are already on the road that the Commission on the College of the Future sets out for us.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

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.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

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 May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 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.

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.

FE Voices

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.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

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.

Education Video Interviews

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.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

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.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page