From the immediate effects of the coronavirus pandemic to the continued focus on climate change and the future of the country post Brexit, there are common challenges facing both colleges and the health and care sector.

How do we build the health and care workforce needed now and in future?

How will people live, learn and work?

How can we work collaboratively as anchor institutions to support local communities?

The NHS, as Europe’s biggest employer, is in many ways a priority litmus test for the Commission’s work and a natural sector to focus on. There are partnerships forming and examples of good practice that can be built upon as we look to the future, which can be seen in the case studies in this report.

This joint report with NHS Confederation is based on contributions from and conversations with leaders from both sectors in England and addresses how together, we can:

  1. Create the healthcare workforce of the future by better making the case for colleges
  2. Build strategic and collaborative relationships between colleges and employers that embrace a culture of system partnership and learning
  3. Recognise the power of place-based leadership of anchor institutions to support the wider health and prosperity of our communities

Key recommendations

Create a new, collaborative vision for the future of colleges in health and care driven by employer hubs

To turbocharge greater college collaboration and develop a coherent and navigable interface for NHS organisations, we recommend that the Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care fund the piloting of seven health and care employer hubs for two years. Building on where colleges are collaborating already, we believe this would require £5 million in central funding. These hubs would support the health and care sector to unlock the potential of colleges by providing an integrated service that convenes and coordinates colleges and collectively recruits, upskills and retrains in communities. This dedicated team would enable a coordinated approach to the NHS workforce strategy for colleges (and the wider education system), develop clear pathways and progression routes, coordinate college workforce Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and drive collaboration on public health strategies.

Embed the role of colleges in support of the NHS People Plan

To best maximise the contribution of colleges in securing its future workforce, NHS England and NHS Improvement should seek to ensure that this critical relationship underpins the NHS People Plan, including the specific commitment to deliver 50,000 more nurses. In delivering the People Plan, a consistent framework should be established to support regions and integrated care systems in England to develop a coherent approach to bringing the college voice into strategic system workforce plans and the newly established People Boards. As part of this approach, integrated care systems (ICSs) should prioritise support for local NHS organisations to develop place-led anchor relationships with their respective colleges.

Create a new voice for English colleges – the Health and Care College Council

To empower colleges to contribute to the prevailing health and care workforce conversation and strategic planning with greater impact, we are calling for colleges to create a national council to promote, develop and embed the essential contribution of colleges in education and training pipelines in England. Such a council will act as a national interface for colleges to coordinate both with the health and care sectors and across the education and skills system, influence policy and regulation, share research and best practice, and set guiding principles for collaboration.

What opportunities are there in the other nations in the UK?

While this report focusses on England, the Commission will explore opportunities for taking forward the themes in this report in the context of the four nations.

Marie-Thérèse McGivern, Commissioner and Former Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Metropolitan College, said:


“The core recommendations of this report have real potential alignment in Northern Ireland. Whilst the health service is deliver through Health Trusts (overseen by the Department for Health), the relationship with colleges is mixed and not consistent. The curriculum hubs model in Northern Ireland has already seen success in social care, and this model could be a starting point for supporting the health sector too.”

David Jones OBE DL, Commissioner and former Chief Executive of Coleg Cambria, said:

“Colleges are the solution to addressing so many of the skills challenges facing the health and social care services in Wales. In moving towards a bold post compulsory education and training sector that builds on the fantastic work of our colleges and their work with other training and skills providers and partners, it is clear that colleges could and should be doing more to support these critical sectors. These are unique opportunities in the systems and structures we have in Wales, and the publication of this report on the English NHS provides a useful opportunity to reflect on practice and ideas in other jurisdictions. I hope this will begin to develop this Autumn.” 

Jon Buglass, Vice Principal, Edinburgh College, said:

"As we look to the future of colleges in Scotland, the health and social care sector must be a priority. Collaboration across the full skills pipeline – with schools, colleges and universities – is needed in order to create the agile and inclusive tertiary system needed to support this critical sector. At Edinburgh College we are approaching key partners in this sector and across education and skills to collaborate with to achieve our ambition of meeting the skills needs to keep our population healthy. The recommendations for England in this report provide helpful ways to think about supporting our engagement with the NHS in Scotland. We look forward to continuing the conversation.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

VocTech Futures in the Health and Social Care Sectors #VocTechFutures Episode 4

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


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 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.

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.


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.


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