The Independent Commission on the College of the Future today (28 October) launched its report on the future of UK colleges. The 76-page report (which can be found here looks at what colleges want and need and how they can get there, and sets out a number of recommendations.
In a joint statement, CCCG Chief Executive Roy O’Shaughnessy and Chair Alastair Da Costa said: “This report sets out an exciting, bold and ambitious vision for further education colleges.
“It places colleges where they belong – at the heart of their communities, working with employers, Government, students and each other, to deliver the training and skills support that their communities need to succeed.
“Through our own initiatives, including our free courses for everyone up to Level 2, and our wide range of free online courses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we, like many other colleges are already innovating and making it easier for economically-deprived people to learn.
“We stand ready to do much more, and look forward to working with other London educators, businesses, the GLA and out local authorities to turn this bold vision into reality.”
Summary of the recommendations in the report
- A statutory right to lifelong learning, so that people can train, and retrain, throughout their lives. This must be backed-up by financial support (the report describes it as “grants and loans that allow college students to live well whilst studying”), so that someone’s background or economic circumstances don’t affect their life chances.
- Radical, long-term education and skills reforms and investment is needed – to address current and future skills gaps and transform every adult’s life chances. Colleges educate 1.4 million adults every year and must be at the heart of these reforms.
- Backing business, driving innovation and addressing skills gaps, by establishing a unique service for employers at their local colleges for training and upskilling future and current employees, including through sector-focused “employer hubs”.
- Overhaul, rebalance and integrate the whole post-16 education and skills system in each nation with a 10-year strategy for how colleges will work with schools, universities and all other education and training providers, to deliver what each nation’s economy and society needs, redressing funding inequity where it exists.