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Gavin Williamson's 'new focus' for the forgotten 50% of young people - AoC responds

27 April 2020

Today (30 September) at the Conservative Party Conference, Secretary of State Gavin Williamson launched the 'new focus' on the forgotten 50 per cent of the population that don't go to university. Chief Executive, David Hughes said: "It is very encouraging to the see the Secretary of State today back up his strong support for colleges with more investment. His speech reinforces the Prime Minister and Chancellor’s commitment to technical and vocational education. The second funding announcement in as many months shows the tide, rightly, is changing. He is right to highlight that those not going to university should be afforded equal opportunities to succeed. This investment, alongside the £400m announced earlier this month are a great start to achieving that. More will be needed though to make this a reality. I share the Secretary of State’s desire to have a post-16 education system fit for the future that is coherent, joined up and providing the opportunities and choices for those that have been neglected for far too long. In fact, that desire seems now to be shared across the political spectrum, as it should be. Education, skills and opportunities should be above politics. Colleges have the knowledge, teaching staff and initiative to deliver the ‘revolution in technical education’ Mr Williamson described so passionately. Prioritising them on the political, economic and social agenda will benefit not only young people and adults, but communities, businesses and economic prosperity all over the country." Conservative Party Conference is taking place in Manchester from 29 September - 2 October 2019.