Calderdale College Principal calls for investment in Further Education at Westminster

Calderdale College Principal and Chief Executive, David Malone, joined college leaders from across the country at Westminster on Wednesday 1 March to highlight the need for additional investment in Further Education (FE).

The Future Skills Coalition parliamentary event, co-ordinated by the Association of Colleges, is part of a national campaign to promote the FE sector’s key role in meeting the growing skills demands of the economy.

The campaign is calling for a right to lifelong learning and fair, accessible and effective funding following 12 years of declining investment in provisions for both adults and young people.

David attended the Mind the Skills Gap panel discussion at Westminster with senior politicians to discuss how the lack of funding in the FE sector is having a direct impact on its ability to provide a skilled workforce that the economy needs.

After the panel, he met with local MPs Holly Lynch and Craig Whittaker to discuss how the limited funding is affecting skills shortages in Calderdale and surrounding districts.

David said: “Colleges play a key role in addressing skills shortages and Calderdale College is ready to play its part in the government’s plans to grow the economy. However, without the necessary investment in our sector we are unable to successfully close the skills gap.”

A joint report from the Open University and the British Chambers of Commerce (2022), found that 68 per cent of SMEs are currently facing skills shortages, rising to 86 per cent in large organisations. As a result of these shortages, 78 per cent of employers said they are seeing reduced output, profitability or growth.

Digital is one of the sectors showing skills shortages, with the demand for new skilled workers in West Yorkshire expected to rise by a significant 42,000 by the end of 2025.*

“Calderdale College is doing everything it can to contribute to the growth of Digital, along with other key priority sectors, but we, along with all FE colleges, need more funding to be able to do this effectively.

“We will continue campaigning to show the government and MPs the importance of FE in helping industries like Digital grow,” David added.

For more information on the AoC Future Skills Coalition campaign, visit: Mind the skills gap – Parliamentary activity | Association of Colleges (aoc.co.uk)

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