Prime Minister to announce plans to 'transform skills and training system' - AoC responds

29 Sep 2020

Responding to the announcement that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to give a speech laying out his plans for expanded FE funding for adults to prepare workers for a post-Covid economy, Chief Executive, David Hughes said: 

"For many years, further education colleges have not received the recognition they deserve for the outstanding work they do for people of all ages and communities – and they have suffered from a decade of neglect during austerity.  The Prime Minister’s speech today shows that he recognises this and supports the power and mission of colleges. It places colleges at the heart of the recovery, supporting people and employers in the recovery and renewal we all want to see. I am delighted that the government has decided to invest in colleges because they will help enhance people’s life chances for years to come.

We believe that colleges should play a bigger part in a more collaborative education and skills system that allows people to train and retrain throughout their lives. Today’s speech is a strong sign that this thinking will form much of the foundation for the upcoming FE white paper and develop a system that works for all adults and not just those fortunate enough to go to university. 

A new entitlement to a fully-funded Level 3 qualification and more flexibility built into L4 and L5 are important steps forward as the government begins to implement the Augar Review. There is a lot more to do to stimulate demand from adults and employers and to support colleges to have the capacity to meet needs. I am looking forward to working with officials on the details and the legislation which will be part of the white paper later this year. 

We must get this right to ensure our education and skills system is fit for purpose – I hope the Prime Minister’s words are just the beginning on the road to a fairer and more accessible post-16 system for everyone who needs it.”

We will provide further updates as details on the announcements are published.