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RESPONSE: Commission responds to UK Government's Queen's Speech

11 May 2021

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of new skills and training legislation in England, Amanda Melton CBE, Member of the Independent Commission on the College of the Future and Principal and Chief Executive of Nelson and Colne College Group, said:

“Colleges empower local people, businesses and communities with the skills and support they need to thrive, but for too long in England they have been neglected. The commitment from the UK Government to transform the post-16 skills and training system through a new Bill is an important recognition of this. A radical overhaul is needed and must be matched with funding and flexibility for colleges.

“Increasing opportunities in further and technical education is vital as businesses across the nation rebuild and transform post-pandemic and as the future of work progresses. Too many people currently face barriers to further study and training, particularly those on low incomes and in precarious employment. The potential of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee can expand the transformative opportunity of studying and training at a college to more people. This will only happen if the package of finance and welfare support are sufficient so that anyone from any background, no matter where they start, can live well whilst studying.

“To truly revolutionise skills and training opportunities, an interconnected and collaborative education and skills system across college, schools, independent training providers and universities must be developed. As we collectively seek to build a stronger economy, address inequalities and decarbonise the economy, I know colleges stand ready to deliver the skills and change needed.”