In a keynote address to the Association of Colleges conference, Chief Executive John Brennan sought to raise the profile of the Further Education sector and to encourage the government to increase the direct financial support to the sector. Addressing delegates from across the UK, Brennan said, “I want ou sector to be a little more mainstream and a little less sideshow.”
Promoting an overall theme of aspiration, Brennan called on the government to raise the status of skills and for the media and higher education to acknowledge the contribution that Further Education graduates have and will to continue to make to the global marketplace. “We are truly a stairway to a better life for hundreds of thousands of individuals and to a more dynamic, meritocratic, economically versatile Britain for all,” explained Brennan.
Brennan also discussed the prospect of an Employer Training Program, saying that it is built on incentives to train and is dependent on creating a local and national dialogue between employers and colleges. “I want to make absolutely sure that employers know what the sector does, what the sector says to the Government and what the sector wants to see… I want a more organized dialogue which stretches fruitfully into the months ahead,” furthered Brennan.
In a brief press conference after his address, Brennan said that he believes that the “money provided is not adequate for the costs involved. The funding policies [the Government] is trying to pursue will widen the gap instead of decreasing it.” Furthering, he said that the government needs to free up some of the mechanisms in order for colleges to look at different funding options.
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