Andy Wilson, CEO, to retire

Capital City College Group (CCCG) today announced that their Chief Executive, Andy Wilson, is to retire from his position this summer, once a successor has been appointed.

Andy was Principal of Westminster Kingsway College for 12 years prior to the creation of Capital City College Group.  He was one of the key architects of CCCG and became founding Group CEO when Westminster Kingsway and City & Islington College merged in 2016. He successfully led the organisation as it expanded when the College of Haringey, Enfield & North East London joined and the Group’s innovative training arm, Capital City College Training, was created to work directly with London’s employers.

Alastair Da Costa, CCCG Chair, said: “The Governors of Capital City College Group are grateful to Andy for all he has done to create the most important FE organisation in London and to lead it as it has become successfully established. It was always part of Andy’s and the Board’s longer-term plan for him to lead the Group until it became fully established, and, following his retirement, for his successor to build on what he has started. We wish Andy a long and happy retirement.”

The Group has begun the process to recruit a new CEO and will be seeking applications in the next few weeks.  Andy will remain in post until his successor is appointed and takes up the position.

Andy Wilson said: “I am proud to have been part of the creation of CCCG and through it to have ensured its member colleges continue to flourish at the heart of further education and training in London. I have been fortunate to work with a tremendous team of managers and governors and thank them for the support they have provided in steering the Group through the first phase of its development.”  However, as we all know, Further Education operates in a fast changing environment and I believe CCCG needs somebody who can make a longer term commitment than I can as it moves through the next phases of its evolution’.

“We need a skills system that works for everyone”

Capital City College Group CEO Andy Wilson has written a blog for the Collab Group – the membership organisation for the UK’s top colleges and College Groups.

“At the beginning of December the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, published his draft Skills for Londoners strategy. The position of the Mayor is becoming particularly important for London FE because responsibility for our Adult Education Budget passes to him from 2019. Devolution and the draft strategy provide a new opportunity to address an issue that has plagued the national skills system if London is willing to turn what could otherwise be little different from its predecessors in to something truly different.

“At the launch of the draft strategy, employers took the opportunity to repeat their oft made complaint that vocational qualifications and Apprenticeship Standards fail to meet their requirements and that there are too many of them. The present system, now underpinned by structures in the Institute of Apprenticeships, has a limited number of employers designing Apprenticeship Standards and qualifications which other businesses criticise as being restrictive and irrelevant to their needs. These criticisms are compounded as more qualifications/Standards are devised to fill the gaps identified creating a proliferation of outcomes which employers claim they cannot understand. Providers then have the unenviable task of devising a curriculum to match the qualifications/Standards, the needs of individual employers, the interests of students and, crucially, funding and inspection requirements. These forces can seldom be fully aligned and so the provider is faced with employers whose requirements they cannot fulfil because they are unable to provide subsidised training that meets their real needs or qualifications which are of little interest to individual students.

“In addressing this anew we must set aside the obvious contradiction that it is impossible to meet everybody’s individual needs and at the same time limit the number of options available to them, as well as a frustration that practitioners have been increasingly marginalised in national policy making. A new skills strategy must give proper recognition to the experience colleges have in responding to the requirements of employers, which, for good reason, are often varying and inconsistent, and the individual learning needs of students, Apprentices and other employees. No other part of the skills system sees the issues from all of these perspectives and this experience must now be properly embraced in the policy-making process.

“A welcome initiative in the draft strategy is the proposal for the ‘Mayor’s Good Work Standard’ to encourage businesses to engage more fully with the skills system. The standard, along with the opportunities devolution provides to shape new ways of working, should be used to involve London’s businesses, FE colleges and government in a genuine partnership to co-design a skills system, along with qualifications, Apprenticeship standards and outcomes, that reflect this complex network of needs and demands rather than the often simplistic view of a small number of large employers. Providers can inform employers about how their individual needs can be given a wider base that is more likely to meet the requirements of their wider sector and how they can be made more engaging to students and so provide more individuals ready for work in that sector. Employers can then work with providers in designing a curriculum which ensures the skills they require are properly reflected and that real-life experience of work encourages increased participation.

“The existing national systems have failed to recognise and establish this full-partnership approach. The principle of devolution and the interest and commitment of the Mayor of London provides a new opportunity to explore how it might work to benefit London’s businesses and residents. London Capital Colleges and the Collab Group stand ready to play their role in seizing this opportunity.”

CCCG welcome new Education Secretary

Capital City College Group has welcomed the appointment of Damian Hinds to the role of Education Secretary, and urges him to engage with the FE sector.

Andy Wilson, Chief Executive of the Capital City College Group said: “While we are sorry to see Justine Greening leave the vital role of Education Secretary after only 18 months in the job, we look forward to working with Damian Hinds as he gets his teeth into his new brief. As one of the country’s leading college groups, we know that Further Education can help bridge the gap in attainment between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from more affluent backgrounds. As a former Chair of the APPG on Social Mobility, we hope that Damien Hinds will understand FE’s key role and will chose to work with the sector to improve educational opportunity for all our young people.  We hope he will also maintain Justine Greening’s commitment to expanding technical education.