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AoC responds to Labour proposals on colleges and skills

05 December 2022

Responding to Labour's A new Britain report, David Hughes, AoC Chief Executive said: “I’m pleased Labour is looking at the vital place skills investment has in our economy and we will engage with them to make sure their proposals result in a more coherent, joined-up system with colleges at the heart. These findings echo our belief that colleges are anchor institutions, accountable to the communities, employers and people in the localities they each service and we are keen to work in partnership with others to deliver more inclusive and successful economic growth.

"It is vital for colleges to be at the heart of conversations with local government leaders or mayors in combined authorities, employers and other business stakeholders about what the economic, social and community priorities should be up and down the country to best support local labour market needs.

“These proposals build on the adult skills devolution that has happened to date and the recent introduction of Local Skills Improvement Plans, but the ambition goes a lot further than current policy. Colleges will be nervous about any proposals which replace Whitehall bureaucracy and interference with town hall versions of the same, but they will be keen on good devolution which recognises the need to stimulate demand for skills through economic growth and the need for an inclusive approach which offers the investment colleges need to meet demands.

“It is also important to recognise that the adult education budget and post-18 skills is only one of the roles of colleges. There are no proposals here to devolve 16 to 19 and HE funding, for instance, both of which are important parts of what colleges offer. We will continue to have conversations with Labour officials about their manifesto proposals in the run up to the next general election.”