Colleges in the East Midlands have come together to set out their priorities for 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 colleges, led by Association of Colleges’ (AoC's) 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.
Linda Houtby, Principal and Chief Executive of Grantham College and Chair of the AoC East Midlands, said: “We hope government recognises the importance of 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.”
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 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 government in the future.”
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