From education to employment

Alliances between local government and further education system benefit local communities

Local communities can benefit through public service alliances between further education and local government, a report published by the Centre of Excellence in Leadership (CEL) has found. The Further Education Sector was identified as a useful tool in contributing to achieving local policies as well as delivering educational progression.

The schemes create an alliance between communities and their local FE colleges, helping to inspire students to involve themselves in regeneration schemes in their area.

Lynne Sedgmore, chief executive of CEL highlighted the need for mutually beneficial partnerships between colleges and their communities, “CEL has taken a lead in understanding the potential for local strategic partnerships and the challenges for leaders. We will work with partners, colleges and providers to help them develop strong, collaborative and effective partnerships and networks at all levels.

We will undertake research, look at good practice and explore the role of leaders in creating a culture of collaboration.”

Caroline Mager, author of the reports and CEL’s director of strategic policy, noted the effects of governmental reform on the opportunities open to the FE Sector: “Recent changes mean that local government is increasingly taking responsibility for the coordination of public services at a local level. The FE sector has a real contribution to make in addressing local government priorities such as social and community cohesion, economic regeneration, cultural engagement, health and well-being”

CEL says that to date, this engagement has shown great promise. The scheme has already contributed favourably to regional economic and social changes, sometimes regenerating entire areas of the community. Local partnerships have been pioneered in areas such as Oldham, where it is considered to have contributed to a surge in the confidence and progress for its college students as well as local renovation in the form of a university and cultural quarter.

CELs current policy seminar series, “Leading the FE system in a new era of ambition”, began on 9 October 2007 with the first of six seminars,chaired by Fiona Millar.

Maya Robert

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