From education to employment

OU delivers opportunity for FE colleges in England to boost their technical skills offer

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Further education colleges in England can now apply to access support from The Open University to boost their higher technical education provision. The scheme is backed by £10 million of UK Government funding and is designed to increase the number of communities that can access high-quality, higher, technical education locally.

Under the scheme, the OU will support colleges to offer a wider range of higher technical courses, supporting more people to secure jobs with higher wages and grow the economy in their area. Courses can be shorter than a traditional three-year degree, offering a mix of blended, face-to-face and on-line learning to fit around people’s lives and in their local communities.

Further education colleges who want to develop their higher technical education portfolio are invited to find out more and apply at

Minister for Skills, Further and High Education, Andrea Jenkyns, said:

“We need an education system that reflects modern life and gives people of all backgrounds the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.

“The £10 million of funding we are providing to colleges through the Open University will unlock opportunities across the country, enabling people to level up their skill set and boosting opportunities for learners, workers and employers.”

Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said:

“Further education colleges are critical to skills development in local communities and have a significant role to play in levelling up our most disadvantaged areas.

“With Government support, The Open University, will work with colleges to develop their higher education offer, delivering new courses to help build advanced skills, attracting new businesses, helping others grow and creating sustainable and highly skilled jobs in their local communities.

“If you are a further education college interested in developing your higher technical education provision, I’d encourage you to come along to one of our webinars or visit our website to find out more.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:

“I would strongly encourage colleges to consider taking part in this innovative partnership with The Open University. It provides an excellent opportunity to engage students for whom higher education might otherwise be out of reach. The flexibility of these new courses will give people a chance to learn while they earn and gain new skills to take their next steps in the world of work.

“Colleges have an established capability to target to hard-to-reach groups, often from the most economically and socially deprived backgrounds. The OU, meanwhile, is a renowned champion of lifelong learning with half a century of action in this space. This collaboration plays to the strengths of colleges, as anchor institutions at the heart of their communities, and utilises the academic expertise of the OU with its national and international reputation.”

Two webinars are being hosted by the OU to provide information and guidance on the application process for further education colleges on Tuesday 19th July and Tuesday 2nd August, both at 11am. To register please email .

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