Speaking in response to today's Industrial Strategy announcement, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “It is right that the Government places skills at the forefront of the Industrial Strategy. Following our decision to leave the European Union, the economic success of our country depends on using the talents and abilities of all our people – colleges are central to this. As a country, we need to ensure that young people and adults have skills which will allow them to improve productivity, cope with enormous technological change and deal with the uncertainties of modern life.
“Placing more of an emphasis on skills and technical levels will help in addressing improved productivity, better social mobility and overcoming regional disparities. The Government is right to see the Industrial Strategy as a long term project which requires culture change and significant investment to properly improve the skills system. The new strategy should help deliver a more joined-up approach from Government, bringing together investment and infrastructure that can ensure we increase productivity and make the most of the untapped potential in the UK.
"We welcome the government's aim to develop a technical education system that rivals others in the world. Visitors from other governments to UK colleges are often impressed by their capability so there are firm foundations for this.
"The strategy confirms a number of new programmes which were announced in last week's Budget and which will take forward work on maths, digital and construction skills. These are a good start and a helpful statement of intent from Government but more will need to be done to ensure the different initiatives work well together and to provide the predictability that allows colleges to make their own investments in staff and facilities."