From education to employment

Collab Group Principals and CEO’s Reflect on COVID-19


Collab Group (@collabgrp) is delighted to announce the release of a document based on how colleges have responded to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  

The document is based off a series of interviews conducted with CEO’s and Principals of Collab Group Colleges in which leaders were asked to reflect on the effects of the last year and the key lessons learned. Responses from these interviews were coded and analysed to identify common themes.  

Below, is a list of further education leaders who were interviewed as part of this project:  

  • Shelagh Legrave, Chief Executive Officer and Principal, Chichester College Group  
  • Liz Bromley, Chief Executive Officer, NCG 
  • Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive Officer & Principal, Sheffield College 
  • Louise Warde Hunter, Chief Executive Officer & Principal, Belfast Metropolitan College 
  • Andy Forbes, Chief Executive Officer & Principal, City of Bristol College 
  • Dr Sam Parrett OBE, Chief Executive Officer & Group Principal, London South East Colleges 

These interviews covered a range of themes which included the effects of COVID-19 on the delivery of courses, the impact of the pandemic on the student community, Government support during the pandemic, and the effects of COVID-19 on the local economy.   

The interviews and the project revealed several key findings. These included:  

  • The pandemic has accelerated colleges plans for digital transformation both in how they deliver education and training but also in how they have adapted their systems and processes.  
  • Support from local government proved essential for colleges as they navigated the uncertainty of the pandemic. Central Government did provide meaningful support, but at times contradictory policy messages created confusion.  
  • The pandemic exposed the extent of the digital divide and how inequality manifests itself in an increasingly connected world. Urgent action is needed from policymakers to address inequalities in access to digital equipment and how this has a corresponding impact on inclusion and life chances.  
  • Local economies have been changed dramatically due to the pandemic, many areas have seen rising youth unemployment and significant disruption to industries like retail, hospitality and tourism.  

To read the document, follow this link. 

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