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TSNLA announce a new partnership with AELP to strengthen support for third sector learning providers

Third Sector learning providers are an important part of the FE landscape meeting the needs of the most disadvantaged enabling them to improve their economic and social life chances through flexible and sympathetic skills and learning programmes. However, like many independent providers, they have faced increasing difficulties in delivering their mission with major changes occurring in the skills and learning world including devolution.

TSNLA was set up over ten years ago to champion the cause of third sector learning providers from large national charities through to small local community organisations and has enjoyed success in ensuring that the Third Sector voice has been heard. However, faced with the current challenges in FE, the TSNLA Board has concluded that the future interests of Third Sector providers will be best served by working more closely with AELP.

AELP and TSNLA have often made common cause, particularly with current Government policy which treats contracted providers separately from grant-aided providers. In addition, AELP already has a significant number of Third Sector Providers amongst its membership.

TSNLA will be able to contribute its expertise and reach into the Third Sector while AELP will be able to provide wider policy expertise, lobbying and organisational support. This will benefit members of both organisations as well as helping to ensure that policy makers and administrators nationally and locally fully appreciate the positive role that the Third Sector can make in FE.

For the time being, the partnership is focussed on support and services for the Third Sector and TSNLA will remain as an independent charity. However, TSNLA and AELP will keep the partnership under review to determine if a closer organisational relationship would be beneficial in the longer term.

Tim Ward TSNLA CEO says:

‘This partnership provides an exciting opportunity to enhance the support for Third Sector providers and to strengthen the representation of the Third Sector in an increasingly complex and devolved FE Sector. AELP colleagues have been collaborative and supportive from the beginning of our discussions and we are very positive about the benefits this partnership will bring to Third Sector learning providers and the wider FE sector.’

Mark Dawe AELP CEO says:

‘AELP is delighted to be entering into a partnership with TSNLA.  Third sector learning providers are a vital part of skills landscape and throughout the apprenticeship reform process, we have impressed upon ministers the need for local economies and communities to benefit the specialist and niche provision that many of these providers offer.  As the adult education budget moves closer to being devolved, it is equally important that the devolved bodies don’t exclude their expertise and experience from future provision.  In our view, this partnership should help to preserve the value that third sector learning providers add and enable them to flourish.’

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