From education to employment

Ioan Morgan responds to the UCUs claim of selling off colleges for a song

The Chair of the 157 Group has defended his decision to suggest privatisation of some colleges following an article published yesterday on FE News.

Ioan Morgan, Principal of Warwickshire College, said: “The comment that I made was just recognising the reality of the situation from the ground. The reality is that we are facing increased competition, and that in some areas we are not able to effectively respond to this competition because of the structures in further education”.

Speaking exclusively to FE News, Mr Morgan, who heads the 157 Group, continued: “An example of that would be our inability to work outside of our own areas, and respond to national contracts. So you can still get a big employer who can say “I want a college”, for example Warwickshire College, “to work with our group nationally”, and we cannot do it”.

Noting the increasingly competitive nature of education, he said: “We are competing against companies who have greater flexibility within their staff, because they are private companies and they are not carrying heavy public sector contracts on their staff. My comment was, already, we see further education colleges entering into partnerships with private companies, for example Carter & Carter, VT Training, Protocol and others, and I think this is going to be an increasing trend. My belief is that the new lease of further education colleges will involve the creation of joint venture companies between the public and the private sector”.

“To ignore this, would be to bury our heads in the sand”.

Suggesting that private partnerships inject “better business systems” into providers, he added that it would make colleges “more cost effective and responsive”.

“I think to judge a business plan on the basis of failure is a bad starting point. I would say now that if colleges go down the tube for financial reasons or whatever else, there is actually nobody to bail us out now”.

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“We are entering a much harsher world and working closer with our private sector partners is a defence mechanism”.

Vijay Pattni.

What do you think about privatising further education colleges?

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Related FE News articles:

UCU Slams 157’s “Privatisation” ““ 23/01/07

“We Must Embrace Brave New World” ““ 19/01/07

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