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College group calls on Government to boost funding for colleges

3 March 2023

Colleges across West Sussex and Brighton & Hove have joined calls to for the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to increase funding for technical education in the upcoming Spring Budget Statement.

Andrew Green, Chief Executive of Chichester College Group, has written to Mr Hunt to call for an increase in funding for further education colleges in the budget.

College finances remain below what they were in 2010, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Funding cuts also mean spending per pupil nationally in 2024-25 will be around 5% below 2010-11 levels while for adult students, it will be 22% below 2009-10 levels.

Andrew said: “There is a simple fact that investing in college, in skills training, is not only the right thing to do – but the right thing for the economy.

“Skills training must remain a key priority for the growth of the economy, and we need increased funding for the sector to support the development of skills which are essential for boosting the UK’s economy.

“We need to ensure the further education sector can attract and retain the best staff to train the future talent that our employers need, delivering the labour market that the country needs.

“We’re ready to play our part in part in helping the country to thrive, but we can’t do that without investment.”

The Chichester College Group, which is comprised of seven colleges, is supporting the Mind the Skills Gap campaign, which has been launched by the Future Skills Coalition.

With job vacancies at near record levels of over 1 million according to the Office for National Statistics, businesses are struggling to fill important posts which is reducing their ability to grow, which in turn hampers the health of the local and national economy.

Mind the Skills Gap aims to highlight the important role colleges and other further education providers play in giving people the skills they need to enter these often-specialised jobs. Colleges could do even more with greater funding.The Future Skills Coalition is supported by sector organisations the Association of Colleges, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers and City & Guilds, has outlined three priorities to tackle this problem: A right to lifelong learning; fair, accessible and effective funding; and a national strategy to support local, inclusive growth.

The organisations held a campaign event in Parliament on Wednesday (1 March) attended by education and training leaders as well as several MPs and peers.

Vicki Illingworth, Chichester College Group’s Executive Principal, was at the event and was joined by Crawley College Student President James Pinnock-Johnson where they spoke to MPs about the important work colleges do to support their local communities and the pressures colleges face.