Colleges in the East Midlands have come together to set out their priorities for the Government after the General Election next year.
Among their key concerns are preserving funding of adult, skills, literacy and numeracy; ensuring that Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) recognise colleges as strategic partners in delivering the skills agenda; and encouraging local employers to recruit more apprentices and trainees.
The 25 colleges in the East Midlands:
- Educate about 270,000 students
- Deliver 42,000 apprenticeships
- Employ 12,500 people,
- Work with more than 26,000 employers.
The colleges, led by Association of Colleges’ regional representative EMFEC, have also thrown their support behind AoC’s national manifesto, which calls on Government for fairer funding, better access to student transport and careers guidance, and allowing colleges to maintain their autonomy to help them adapt to local need.
David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“D2N2 works closely with our colleges as they are at the forefront of delivering our ambition for a step change in skills to our area and also as centres of excellence for delivering social enterprise. Their links with employers and support for learners are powerful drivers in delivering economic growth across all communities.”
“Working with them we have set challenging targets to increase both the numbers of learners and apprentices across the area and improve the infrastructure to support these learners.”
Linda Houtby, Principal and Chief Executive of Grantham College and Chair of the AoC East Midlands, said:
“We hope the Government recognises the importance on the priorities we have highlighted. We hear constantly that there is a skills shortage and if we are to tackle it, we need to be able to provide training for adults and young people, particularly in literacy and numeracy.”
“We hope to find support from local authorities, MPs and stakeholders in the region to find solutions to these requests.”
Paul Eeles, Chief Executive of EMFEC, said:
“As a region it is important for us to provide jobs for young people – particularly 16 to 18-year-olds – but we need employers to be supportive of taking them on. Government should be doing what it can to give businesses an incentive to invest in that young person.”
Ahead of the Parliamentarylaunch of the document hosted by the Leicester East MP, Rt. Hon. Keith Vaz MP said:
“Colleges in the East Midlands make a significant impact on our regional economy. Not only are they places of education but they are major regional businesses responsible for the education of 270,000 students and contributing near to £900 million to the economy.
“It is crucially vital that Local Enterprise Partnerships foster strong relationships with colleges in order to build on continual economic growth in the East Midlands.”
Richard Atkins, President of the Association of Colleges, said: “Providing skills for adults and employment for young people are key concerns for the east Midlands region. Colleges must continue to be autonomous to allow them to be flexible in responding to the needs of their local area to ensure they are training people in the skills needed by businesses. AoC’s national manifesto is themed around what the Government can do for colleges in terms of fair funding and access for students, and the return they get on their investment in terms of a better skilled workforce and a boost to the economy.
“I am pleased to see that not only have the colleges supported our ‘asks’, they have also examined the needs locally to draw attention to what they specifically need from the Government in future.”