From education to employment

157 Group launches FE college vision report

The 157 Group association of colleges has unveiled its vision for the future of FE policy, centred on stable structures, equal treatment, freedom to innovate and durable funding.

Its document describes how FE colleges can be hubs of workforce development, innovators in higher-level technical education and the focus for community cohesion and enterprise strategies.

“We are proud to set out a clear vision that places colleges at the very centre of an inspiring and enhanced skills system and demonstrates the vital role that colleges will play in economic growth over the coming years,” said 157 Group executive director Lynne Sedgmore.

She said the report also shows how colleges have already led the way in several key areas:

  • College delivery of Apprenticeships has increased by 83% in the last three years
  • Colleges are delivering high-level technical skills training to 900,000 people a year
  • Colleges are delivering higher education courses to 180,000 people a year, many of whom would not otherwise study at this level
  • Colleges have found inspiring ways of enabling people of all ages to improve their literacy and numeracy skills
  • Colleges teach the majority of our 16 to 18-year-olds and prepare them well for employment
  • Colleges have enabled employers to develop adult skills in key areas where strong employment growth is expected – such as Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, social care and retail.

“Our evidence presents a compelling picture in support of the enhancing the role of colleges in our skills system,” added Sedgmore.

“We know that colleges can lead collaboration across the education system and be accountable for their own performance. With greater real autonomy, college principals will be able to operate as genuine social enterprises, to encourage more private investment in the skills system and to become ever more responsive to the needs of employers. We are confident that today’s document provides a blueprint for the future of a truly world-class skills system.”

Click here to view the Future colleges report in PDF format.

Natalie Thornhill

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