FE FundingApril 7th, 2015
Thank you for contacting me recently regarding funding for further education (FE).
I believe that investing in skills is absolutely vital to Britain’s future and to help create the kind of high-skill, high-wage economy we need. Good quality post-16 education is a key part of this so I appreciate why many young people and organisations including the UCU and the ATL have expressed such concern at the Government’s plans for FE funding and non-apprenticeship provision.
The current Government have failed to properly support FE or to provide the relentless focus that is needed on improving the quantity and quality of apprenticeships. Indeed, in the last year, the number of 19-24 year olds starting an apprenticeship has fallen by more than 6,000, 24 per cent of apprentices aged 19-24 are receiving no formal training and around one in five are not receiving the appropriate minimum wage.
A Labour Government, however, will protect the FE budget for 16-18 year olds, introduce a universal gold standard for apprenticeships and new Technical Degrees delivered by universities and employers. This will help address the skills crisis that is currently holding Britain back and is failing to make the best use of the talents of our young people. It will also be accompanied by a new Technical Baccalaureate for 16-18 years olds so that more young people are apprenticeship ready when the leave school.
I do recognise the strain that many FE colleges, courses and teachers are currently under. I hope this letter outlines my support for investing in skills and FE.
Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.