“We know from previous recessions that disadvantaged young people disproportionately suffer, not just in the immediate aftermath of an economic downturn, but often for the rest of their lives. This is our chance to break that cycle.” (David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges)

The Association of Colleges is predicting that half of the new labour market entrants (approximately 100,000 16 to 25 year olds) will struggle to find meaningful employment as the economic shocks of COVID19 continue to be felt.

For this year’s school and college leavers there are likely to be fewer job and apprenticeship opportunities and there will be major challenges in re-starting education and training after months of lockdown. In a depressed labour market, they will also be competing against recent graduates and more experienced staff who have lost their jobs. 

AoC’s Chief Executive, David Hughes, has asked Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, calling on him to deliver a new ‘September Promise’ guaranteeing access to high quality education or training places this Autumn to every young person who wants one.

The Association of Colleges estimates that there are:

  • 30,000 16 and 17 year olds in England who would usually expect to start an apprenticeship or work-based learning programme in the coming academic year who will now need alternate provision
  • 70,000 18 and 19 year olds in England who would usually be headed for employer-based training, or the labour market who will now need alternative provision
  • Other pressures on available state-funded 16+ education places, including a rising population of young people, potential increases in transfers from private to state provision, and the inevitable space constraints created by social distancing. 

AoC is calling for this September Promise to particularly target those from low income families, and those who would normally be starting apprenticeships in September. There should also be a dedicated focus on ‘catch up’ to reduce the impact COVID19 is likely to have on achievement and attainment rates.

The aim is simple, to ensure that COVID-19 does not set young people back but that they are supported to become the generation that builds the UK’s future. 

Other recommendations from the Association of Colleges include:

  • A national skills and retraining programme that brings together the adult education budget, national skills fund (due to start in 2021), national retraining scheme and shared prosperity fund into a coherent, easily managed and understandable fund that works for every adult, in every situation, in every community.
  • Bringing forward some of the £1.5bn announced in the March 2020 budget for college capital investment so that it can be used to purchase IT equipment and software, as well as making necessary building modifications to embed a mixture of online and in person learning.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“We know from previous recessions that disadvantaged young people disproportionately suffer, not just in the immediate aftermath of an economic downturn, but often for the rest of their lives. This is our chance to break that cycle for good. A ‘September Promise’ of high quality education and training would reduce the risk of long term economic scarring, and make sure that businesses have the skilled workforce needed to facilitate economic growth. 

Colleges across England educate and train 2.2 million people each year. They are uniquely placed at the heart of their communities, they have the facilities, the expertise and the enthusiasm to support this extra cohort of young people, they just need the investment from the government to make it happen.

A September Promise would give hope to a generation of young people currently worried about their career prospects now and in the future. It will be they who rebuild the country after COVID19 but only if we put the support in place now.”


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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.

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 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.


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.

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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.

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