Gloucestershire College has signed up with hundreds of other colleges across the country to support the National Colleges Week campaign.
Colleges Week takes place this week and is part of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign. Colleges across the country are hosting events to showcase the brilliant academic and social achievements they undertake on a daily basis. The week’s highlight however will be a national lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 17 October, addressing funding cuts to the 16-19 sector.
The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a partnership between 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).
Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.
However, there is currently a reduction in education funding once a student turns 16 – whether they are in a school sixth form or a college. ‘Love Our Colleges’ is calling on the Government to increase 16-19 funding by 5% a year for 5 years. It is also asking the Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.
Matthew Burgess, Principal at Gloucestershire College, said:“Gloucestershire College has pledged to support the AoC Colleges Week to call on government for better investment in Further Education. This is a great opportunity for us to collectively highlight the brilliant work that goes on in our sector and the staff that make it possible. We employ over 1,000 local staff making us one of the county’s largest employers.
The economic challenges that the country faces mean that we need to harness the talent of every single person in our society. Like many other Colleges, Gloucestershire College fulfils many roles towards this objective and we are proud of the contribution that we make.
Each year at Gloucestershire College we work with over 3,000 16-18 year olds, preparing them for their future lives and the world of work, providing the supply line of talent that our employers need.
In some cases, this involves transformational experiences for people who have difficult starts in their lives but who go on to make a real difference in what they do, so we are a real engine of social mobility, enabling everybody to get on in life, whatever their starting point.
We also play a pivotal role in ensuring that our employers can access the skills they need for their businesses to be prosperous. Each year we provide direct training to over 1,000 businesses across Gloucestershire. In addition to this we work with many thousands of adults providing them with new skills and technical qualifications to enable them to get back into work or progress in their careers.
And we do all this as a public service. The funding we receive is always reinvested in the provision for our local community.
But there is still so much more that needs to be done to address the skills challenges the UK faces and this will need a strong FE sector. I am proud to have spent the majority of my career in Further Education and I am proud of the sector. Colleges Week will bring some much needed awareness and recognition of the important part it plays both now and in the future of our country.”
About Gloucestershire College: Gloucestershire College is an innovative and career-focused provider of further and higher education, with three campuses in Cheltenham, Gloucester and the Forest of Dean. The College delivers a range of academic, professional and technical training programmes, including apprenticeships, HNCs, HNDs, foundation degrees and professional qualifications up to the equivalent of master’s degrees, as well as short courses for businesses, part-time courses and English for overseas students. Each year Gloucestershire College welcomes over 5,000 full-time students and 10,000 part-time students, and employs over 1,000 members of staff across all sites.