Skip to main content

AoC calls on DfE to support college staffing crisis as it recommends 2.25% pay rise

26 May 2022

For immediate release

The Association of Colleges has called on the government to step in to support with college staff pay.

AoC, which negotiates with unions representing staff on behalf of colleges, has recommended a 2.25% pay rise next year, recognising the enormous funding pressures facing colleges amid surging inflation. AoC and the unions have agreed to reconvene later in June to continue talks.

While 2.25% is the highest pay recommendation since 2014, it is well below the unions call for a 10% pay rise and is acknowledged to not sufficiently address the impact of the cost of living crisis on staff.

David Hughes, AoC Chief Executive, met with college leaders in each of the nine regions in England last week to discuss the pay claim.

He said: “Colleges want to pay their staff more, and they absolutely would if they could, but it is clear from discussions last week that they are experiencing enormous challenges dealing with inflation, and particularly spiralling energy prices, as well as increases in national insurance and pension contributions and other costs.

“The impact of this is that pay – which has lagged for many years behind schools and industry – is now resulting in major difficulties in recruiting and retaining the people needed to even maintain delivery, let alone grow the offer.”

David Hughes added: “Colleges are reeling from a decade of cuts and are now being hit by soaring inflation which has eaten away at any recent uptick in funding.

“On Monday I wrote to the Education Secretary urging him to go to the Chancellor to demand emergency funding to support colleges to improve staff pay and help them recruit and retain the skilled people they need to deliver courses.

“To grow the economy, we need desperately to fill the skills gaps which are a drain on productivity. To do that we need to retain and recruit the top talent in colleges to pass on their skills to the next generation of coders, engineers and health professionals.

“There is a real risk to the Government’s ambitious skills agenda to boost apprenticeships, as well as its flagship programmes like T Levels and Higher Technical Qualifications if pay for college staff continues to be outstripped by what they could earn in industry, or even in schools.”

Gerry McDonald, Group Principal and CEO at New City College, who leads discussions on behalf of colleges, said: "We fully recognise the financial difficulties faced by staff across the sector alongside the funding crisis of the sector itself.

“I am pleased that both sides have agreed to continue face to face talks in June to build upon the offer. We have also made a commitment to strengthen recommendations regarding the Living Wage and to workload.”