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AoC responds to appointment of new Chancellor and Education Secretary

06 July 2022

Nadhim Zahawi James Cleverly Parliament

Responding to the appointment of Nadhim Zahawi as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Michelle Donelan as Education Secretary David Hughes, AoC chief executive said: "In May, I wrote to Nadhim Zahawi asking him to make the case to the Treasury for extra funding to boost college staff pay in light of the enormous challenges in recruiting and retaining staff to teach the skills vital for our economy. He provided a positive response which recognised the need for action. I hope he remembers this challenge now that he has the keys to Number 11, because he knows that colleges need more investment if we are to have the economic growth he will be working hard to achieve.

"The education colleges provide is crucial to boosting productivity, growing the economy and filling skills gaps. I wish the Chancellor well in his new role and hope he continues to make the case for fairer funding for FE.

"I am pleased to welcome Michelle Donelan to her new post as Education Secretary. She has been at the forefront of the government's ambitious skills agenda, and we look forward to continuing to work with her on successfully delivering the rollout of T Levels, HTQs and boosting apprenticeships."

Updated 7 July 2022:

David Hughes, AoC Chief Executive said: "I’m pleased to welcome James Cleverly to the best job in the Cabinet and I’m sure that he will find it fulfilling. He joins at a critical time, with some big challenges to the Government’s ambitions for skills and post-16 education. I hope he will bring an open mind and be ready to learn swiftly about urgent decisions which we’ve been pressing for over the last few months.

“There are three challenges which need the new ministerial team’s immediate attention. Firstly, as we pushed for with his predecessors, there is an urgent need for Treasury funds to boost staff pay and address the growing recruitment and retention challenges. Secondly, colleges need financial support to tackle mounting cost pressures from energy, consumables, and other expenditure. Thirdly, we need a joined-up approach on the roll-out of T Levels, the proposed defunding of 160 Level 3 qualifications and the lack of industry placements.

“The review by ONS of the classification of colleges will also need some rapid briefing, with risks as well as potential opportunities for colleges which I hope the new Education Secretary will grasp. I look forward to working with him and his officials on all these issues."