From education to employment

Stoke on Trent College urges the Government to support skills investment in ‘Love our Colleges’ week

Stoke on Trent College urges the Government to support skills investment in ‘Love our Colleges’ week

Ahead of the spring budget on 6 March, Lisa Capper MBE, Principal and CEO of Stoke on Trent College (@SOTCollege) has written to Jo Gideon MP (@jogideon) to ask the Chancellor to support the skills employers are calling for and to start building the system needed to deliver the new Advanced British Standard (ABS) qualifications replacing A Levels and T Levels.

The letter highlights the Chancellor’s priority to grow the economy and says that more investment in skills is vital to make that happen.

The evidence of this need is clear – the proportion of vacancies caused by lack of skilled applicants has rocketed up from 22% in 2017 to 36% in the latest Department for Education (DfE) employer survey whilst skilled migrant visa numbers are rising. Without skilled people, our economy will not grow fast enough. 

The letter also stresses that to meet the new ABS ambition including more teaching hours for 16-18 year olds, a broader curriculum, and extra help for those who have struggled in the system,  then urgent investment is needed to ensure that the teachers and facilities are in place to deliver them.

These two areas of investment, the College says, will result in very clear returns, and it recommends the following:

  1. Mind the skills gap – use the extra money raised from the immigration skills charge to enable colleges to tackle the urgent priorities identified by employers in the local skills improvement plans (LSIPs) and tackle the increased number of skills shortage vacancies found in the latest DfE employer survey.
  2. Make a downpayment on the ABS – invest to close the pay gap between school teachers and college lecturers, extend the 16-18 tuition ‘catch-up’ fund and reimburse VAT for FE Colleges in line with other education establishments to start the journey to the introduction of ABS in 2033.

Lisa Capper MBE, said: “Stoke-on-Trent needs more than ever to punch above its weight on education and skills. Stoke on Trent College is aiming to deliver in key priority sectors and with its employer partners in areas such as Creative and Digital, Construction and Green Tech., Engineering and STEM and Health and Social Care. To do this we need to be supported to deliver to the larger cohorts of learners in Stoke-on-Trent who still need to gain English and maths GCSE after leaving school. We need to ensure we can work with employers and learners to be equipped to deliver on the new Local Skills Improvement Plan vision and develop the pipeline of skills needed in our area, as per our new College Strategy ‘Skills Ready Future Ready’.”

Stoke on Trent College plays a vital role in enabling social mobility and supporting businesses and employers to drive up productivity.  Further investment in post-16 education and skills would enable the College to continue to develop provision to meet the needs of individuals and employers whilst supporting the economy through inward investment and the development of in-demand skills.

Jeremy Cartwright, Chair of Governors, Stoke on Trent College said:

“As an anchor institution the College has a key role in educating young people, building improved local skills and apprenticeships,  and a stronger adult workforce to support productivity and ambitious projects in our area.  It is paramount that the Government provide the appropriate funding to enable the College to play it’s part in providing a successful future for all.”

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