My college gave me a second chance in education. It gave me the confidence that I can be just as successful as my peers and showed me that sixth forms and A-levels were not for everyone - which is okay. I finished college with fantastic results and was provided with the platform to build my networks through my students' union and become the NUS Vice President (Further Education) where I now represent 4.5 million students across the sector. I am just one story amongst millions where college changed my life.
But the savage funding cuts that colleges have faced in recent years is also holding back millions like me from both educational achievement and human flourishing, with disastrous impacts on individuals, our economy and social fabric. Between 2009 and 2019, college funding has been cut by around 30%! Colleges are closing, staff are over-worked and under-paid, infrastructure is falling apart, and students are facing fewer teaching hours and financial difficulties of their own.
We urgently need government investment to ensure that these issues are addressed but also to ensure that students have the state-of-the-art resources and learning environments they deserve, and that staff are supported to provide the best they can always.
Love our Colleges is a fantastic week where numerous organisations, including NUS, come together to demand the funding that colleges need and deserve. I am proud to represent and voice the struggles and demands of millions of students by supporting the campaign this week. However, it is time for real change on this issue and the government must listen, provide funding and ensure that, in future years, Love our Colleges becomes a week devoted only to the incredible, life-changing work of the sector and not one forced to highlight the current injustices.