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AoC comment on Labour's technical excellence plans

09 October 2023

Commenting on Labour's skills announcement on Sunday, AoC chief executive, David Hughes, said:

"Colleges sitting in communities across the country are a critical national resource and Labour are right to recognise that role in driving economic development and breaking down barriers to opportunity. The UK underperforms on skills, productivity and employer investment in training and colleges have suffered from years of underinvestment so it's good to see an ambition to address this, through an expanded role for colleges across the country. Labour's plans also involve stronger partnerships between colleges, employers, local and devolved governments and universities.

In the last twenty years ministers have enjoyed inventing new organisations which is an approach that often results in duplication and wasted spending. It's significant and reassuring that these latest plans are explicitly focused on strengthening the existing college network, rather than creating new institutions.

Colleges face staffing challenges as they compete with industries on pay for technically expert teachers. Solving this will include engaging with employers, trade associations and unions as partners to develop the curriculum, the facilities and the trainers so that colleges can train and retrain the workers of the future. By building on the great colleges that we have now and on the work they do, progress can be quicker, more sustainable and simpler. I look forward to seeing more details"