From education to employment

Publication of Purpose and Principles

students sat

A new national model of public funding for all colleges and universities, as well as apprenticeships and training, will be developed as part of widespread reforms across the education and skills sector.

The Scottish Government will  also take over responsibility for skills planning, with the new national qualifications body overseeing all publicly funded post school qualifications, except degrees.

The changes are set out in a new blueprint for the future of post-school education, research and skills which published today. It accepts a number of the recommendations in the recent Withers review, which called for major change in the skills delivery system to improve outcomes for learners and employers, as well as other reports on educational reform.

Higher and Further Education Minister Graeme Dey said:

“Over half a million people are participating in our education, research and skills system every year, underpinned by over £3 billion of investment. We need to ensure it is fit for the future and that’s why we are embarking on a widespread programme of reform across the sector.

“Globalisation, technological advances, the impact of the pandemic and demographic changes all point toward the need for change, as well as the shifting expectations of students and of employers.

“A key part of this is ensuring all elements of the lifelong education and skills sector work together as one single system. The recent review of skills delivery by James Withers set out a clear case for change, starting with these key actions for Government, which I believe will help to deliver the improvement required. 

“The skills landscape must fit the needs of the people of Scotland so that everyone can fulfil their potential and contribute to our society, economy and place in the wider world.”

Sector Response

Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland, Shona Struthers, said:

“Colleges already give people, at every stage in life, an opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge, values, and attributes to fulfil their potential and to make a meaningful contribution to society.

“The current structure is not sustainable, and Purpose and Principles sets out some areas of change which might help to bring stability to Scotland’s 26 colleges.

“Stability, and creating a sustainable future for colleges is vital, as students deserve to learn in colleges that are thriving, ambitious and strongly connected to industry, and re-enforce to businesses that colleges are the go-to place for skills training and high-quality qualifications.

“Colleges should play a leading and active role in their regions in terms of skills planning, as well as delivery, so that Scotland’s economy and communities can thrive – this must be in close connection to what employers need and with industry being good partners in supporting their local colleges.

“Colleges are swiftly adapting under pressure to new ways of working, finding efficiencies and are trying to find new markets, but the core purpose of a college is to provide world-class education and training, which is extremely challenging without sustainable funding.

“There have recently been a range of reviews and publications which seem to be setting a direction of travel for the Scottish Government. College leaders will keep engaging with Scottish Government to elevate and enhance the critical role colleges play within Scotland.”

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