Colleges Week 13th - 17th May
Colleges Week takes place this week for the second time this academic year, and is part of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign. Colleges across the country are once again hosting events to showcase the brilliant academic work and social achievements they undertake on a daily basis.
In October 2018 the highlight of Colleges Week was the national lobby of Parliament addressing funding cuts to the 16 -19 sector. This time everyone involved wishes to bring to light the amazing work that colleges do. Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions.
However, there is currently a reduction in education funding once a student turns 16 – whether they are in a school sixth form or a college. ‘Love Our Colleges’ is calling on the Government to increase 16-19 funding by 5% a year for 5 years. It is also asking the Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.
Since the first college’s week, Principal Matthew Burgess has been actively campaigning for more funding for Further Education. In February, Conservative MP Richard Graham and Labour MP co-authored a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond calling on the Government to increase funding to the sector. Matthew Burgess joined this call.
He said: “Gloucestershire College has pledged to support the AoC Colleges Week to call on the Government for better investment in Further Education. This is a great opportunity for us to collectively highlight the brilliant work that goes on in our sector and the staff that make it possible. We employ over 1,000 local staff making us one of the county’s largest employers.
The economic challenges that the country faces mean that we need to harness the talent of every single person in our society. Like many other Colleges, Gloucestershire College fulfils many roles towards this objective and we are proud of the contribution that we make.
Each year we work with over 3,000 16-18 year olds, preparing them for their future lives and the world of work, providing the supply line of talent that our employers need.
In some cases, this involves transformational experiences for people who have difficult starts in their lives but who go on to make a real difference in what they do, so we are a real engine of social mobility, enabling everybody to get on in life, whatever their starting point.
We also play a pivotal role in ensuring that our employers can access the skills they need for their businesses to be prosperous. Each year we provide direct training to over 1,000 businesses across Gloucestershire. In addition to this, we work with many thousands of adults providing them with new skills and technical qualifications to enable them to get back into work or progress in their careers.
And we do all this as a public service. The funding we receive is always reinvested in the provision for our local community.
But there is still so much more that needs to be done to address the skills challenges the UK faces and this will need a strong FE sector. I am proud to have spent the majority of my career in Further Education and I am proud of the sector. Colleges Week will bring some much needed awareness and recognition of the important part it plays both now and in the future of our country.”
To find out more information about the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign and how to get involved, please visit: www.loveourcolleges.co.uk