College Principals and CEOs within Greater Lincolnshire are working together to show regional support towards the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign. The national campaign is launching as part of Colleges Week, which takes place from October 15th to 19th.
The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign highlights the vital role that colleges play in local communities and the economy, as well as the need for proper investment in the further education sector and fairer pay for FE staff.
According to research by the Association of Colleges, college funding nationally has dropped by around 30%, which has impacted on learning opportunities for young people and adults. Colleges are crucial in providing education and skills to boost local and regional economies, whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning.
Janet Meenaghan, Chair of the Federation of Greater Lincolnshire Colleges and Principal and Chief Executive at New College Stamford said, “In her conference speech our Prime Minister, Theresa May, signalled the end of austerity. The message is timely - Colleges Week is our opportunity to call on government for better investment in colleges, and fair pay for college staff. It’s time for positive change!”
Colleges within Lincolnshire are taking the opportunity to lobby their MPs, and to support the campaign by hosting events to showcase the brilliant work they do in transforming people’s lives.
Leading the campaign is the Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).
Activities taking place during Colleges Week include a national lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 17th October, which will see Greater Lincolnshire college principals, staff and students attending to further amplify the message. The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is calling on the government to increase funding for 16-19-year-olds by 5% a year for the next five years. It is also asking the Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.
Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership Director, Ruth Carver said, “One of our current priorities is to help the Government to deliver its Industrial Strategy, and a crucial part of that is about ensuring that our young people and our workforce have access to the right education and training.
“We recognise the important work that Greater Lincolnshire’s colleges and training providers do in delivering the vital skills and talent that our businesses need to grow and prosper across our area; at the same time we are concerned about the disinvestment in education and skills training for both 16 to 18-year-olds and adults.
“We therefore urge the Government to address the issue of long-term underfunding in the further education sector.”
David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day, colleges provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people.”
He added, “Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”