As one of the UK’s largest further education organisations, it is important for Capital City College Group to engage with politicians as well as others in the education sector as well as in the wider economy. In particular, MPs of all parties help shape public opinion and Ministers in Government make decisions that affect the funding of colleges and the lives of our staff and students, so meeting them and explaining to them the important work that we do, is very valuable.
The first two months of the new academic year have seen us meet – and impress – many new political contacts and make some friends along the way. We’ve also commented on Government announcements and London’s skills gap. Here’s a summary of our activities.
In September, our Chief Executive Roy O’Shaughnessy published a joint blog with Joysy John, the CEO of the 01Founders coding school which we are a key partner of. The blog, published by the business campaigning group London First discussed what we and 01Founders are doing to help bridge the two digital skills gaps which London is facing. You can read the blog here: https://www.londonfirst.co.uk/news-publications/blog/mind-the-gap-two-ways-that-were-helping-london-bridge-the-digital-skills
Also in September, the MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, Nickie Aiken, visited Westminster Kingsway College’s Victoria centre. The centre is home to the college’s renowned School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts and Nickie spent time with us discussing a number of areas including the range and high quality of the college’s hospitality courses, as well as how we helped students continue to learn during the lockdowns caused by the COVID pandemic.
In the middle of October, we had the pleasure of hosting almost 200 people – again at Victoria – at a big event organised by the Department for Education for their stakeholders. The event was a unique opportunity for the group to raise its profile among so many important political contacts at the same time.
As Neil Cox, Head of Policy and Communications for the Group explains: “The event’s attendees was a who’s who of education politicians and opinion formers. As well as the new Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi MP and his ministerial team, the Permanent Secretary to the Department for Education was there too, and the guest list had people from early years, schools organisations, colleges and the higher education sector. We talked to many of these people and were delighted to give Mr Zahawi a chance to visit the kitchens and chat to some of the students who were working on the food for the guests.”
The event was a great success and we had a lot of wonderful feedback from the DfE and the guests, who were very impressed by the students’ professionalism.
Also in October, we met Kate Green MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education. Kate is Labour’s key education spokesperson and she spent three hours with some of our senior managers – again at our Victoria centre, which is our closest site to Parliament – discussing a number of important areas including:
- Apprenticeships and what we think of the current levy system for funding them
- The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, especially the role of colleges and other key local stakeholders in the Local Skills Improvement Plans
- The complex and short-term nature of how further education is funded and how we can encourage a longer-term and more sustainable settlement.
Kate also enjoyed a tour of the kitchens at Victoria and spoke to some of our culinary students about their studies.
And at the end of the month, we commented on the Chancellor’s budget and Comprehensive Spending Review announcement. You can read what CEO Roy O’Shaughnessy thought of it here: https://www.capitalccg.ac.uk/our-response-to-the-chancellor-of-the-exchequers-budget-announcement
Over the coming months, we will continue our political engagement activities. If you would like to find out more about our political activity or would like us to work with you, please contact Neil Cox, Head of Policy and Communications at email@example.com