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AoC responds to the Liberal Democrats' manifesto

10 June 2024

Enrichment report

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: “The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto shows that they have been listening to us because there are several pledges in line with our asks on post-16 education and skills.

“It’s great to see the promise to review further education (FE) funding, including the option of exempting colleges from VAT and presumably taking into account the pay gap with schools, the extension of the pupil premium to 18, a review of qualifications and the reform of the apprenticeship levy, boosting the take-up of apprenticeships, and expanding Higher National Diplomas and Higher National Certificates. It is also pleasing to see they have retained their commitment to lifelong learning with the £5,000 for adults.

“We have set out five very clear asks for the future government: the introduction of a national skills strategy, a comprehensive offer for everyone under the age of 21, a £35,000 starting salary for college lecturers, 250,000 apprenticeship starts per year for young people and adults in priority sectors, and 100,000 more people a year with the skills needed in digital, health and net zero.

“We have a strong track record of engaging with, and influencing, all parties on FE and skills policy, and look forward to continuing this with the next government.”

A full A-Z of further education can be found here, and a cheat sheet of key policies and issues in FE can be found here.