Funds for economic recovery

Monday 5 October 2020

Ian Pryce CBE, Principal and CEO at The Bedford College Group has welcomed the news that Further Education is being recognised as the route to recovery for the UK from 2021.

He applauds funding for free education for those over 19 who want to take up technical courses in pursuit of jobs in the “new normal”.

Ian commented:

Yet another good announcement, extending free advanced level technical programmes to all ages. There seems finally to be a realisation that Further Education is key to the economic recovery."

Ian BC Campus

Right now, The Bedford College Group, which has been maintaining its message to the community throughout the crisis: Come to us for career courses has huge numbers of full-time students signed up for apprenticeships, technical and vocational options.

Recruitment is on-going among those adults over 19 who want to upgrade or refresh skills, or make career changes in this fast-moving economic climate. From the Learning Centres at Bedford, Kettering and Corby where basic IT skills can be honed in to obtain employer-recognised qualiications, to professional courses and Higher Education or degree-level learning, the college campuses across Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire are proving ever more popular.

The Bedford College Group has been maintaining its links with 1,000s of businesses, small and multinational, across the region, including Milton Keynes during the Covid-19 crisis. The Business Development team led by Gina Bubbins is now advising companies on how to make the most of new recruitment and training funding and opportunities which are available.

In business areas like construction, technology and warehousing and distribution, The Bedford College Group has unparalleled contacts and has been helping employers find and upscale staff - from apprentices to those being promoted via degree education.

Said Gina: “If businesses large or small want to talk to us we can take them through what money is available and how to make the most of the new Apprenticeship funding. We know they are busy in these challenging times, but we can help them navigate the paperwork and procedures.

The national Association of Colleges (AoC) has summarised the Government funding as follows:

  • The FE white paper will be published this year
  • The National Skills Fund (£500 million a year from April 2021 onwards) will be used to fund an all-age level 3 entitlement (ie. not restricted for under 24 year olds). DfE will publish a list of eligible courses next month so this entitlement will be restricted to skills that are ‘valued by employers’.
  • The government will introduce legislation to extend the scope of HE loans to cover more L4 and L5 courses (higher technical education) in line with the Post-18 review recommendation. DfE also plans a lifetime loan allowance which would remove the need for equivalent and lower qualification rules.
  • Re-announces the £1.5 billion FE capital fund, £200 million of which was distributed to FE colleges by formula in September 2020. Bedford College has already won £2 Million of this fund
  • Some proposals on apprenticeships including a promise of more training funding for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and more flexibility about how Apprenticeship Levy-paying employers can use their funds. 
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