The CEO of a leading Midlands college group has welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement to allocate £1.5 billion in additional funding for colleges in England – but says the investment still leaves a significant shortfall against what the sector actually needs.
Angela Joyce is CEO of WCG, a large college group based in Warwickshire and Worcestershire, which has seven colleges across the two counties.
Joyce said the funding announcement in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first Budget was a ‘step in the right direction.’
She said: “We welcome the announcement by the Chancellor that there will be additional funding made available over the coming years to improve college estates.
“It is a step in the right direction, recognising that the underfunding of colleges in recent years has had a serious impact on colleges’ ability to continue investing in the development of their facilities for the benefit of learners and businesses.
“We await with interest the detail around this funding to see how it will be made available to colleges and how those most in need of college estate investment will be able to benefit from the fund.
“There is still a long way to go in terms of the government balancing up the funding of colleges when compared to schools and universities.
“This capital investment, whilst welcome, still leaves a significant shortfall against what the sector actually needs if it is to be able to continue to deliver the highest quality of teaching and learning required by our economy, in facilities that are future-proofed.”
As well as the additional £1.5 billion in funding for colleges in England, the government has committed to a new £2.5 billion (£3 billion inclusive of indicative Barnett consequentials) National Skills Fund to improve the technical skills of adults across the country.
Commenting on the National Skills Fund, Joyce said: “Adult learning has received declining funding over many years now, so if this skills fund reverses that decline it can only be seen as a positive step.
“Again, the means of allocating that funding to learners and providers will be the key detail that will determine how successfully this fund can meet the needs of individuals, businesses and the economy.
“WCG will aim to play its part in providing input into the discussion around how the fund will be allocated and used.”
"We welcome the announcement by the Chancellor that there will be additional funding made available over the coming years to improve college estates"
Angela Joyce, CEO, WCG