The Further Education sector can be a vital driver of social mobility in Britain after Brexit.
This research finds that although the FE and skills sector faces a series of challenges over the next two decades, it can seize the opportunity to play an even greater role in helping people of all ages raise their skills and wages. Many FE colleges play a vital role in towns and communities that voted Leave in the EU referendum and are sometimes described as feeling “left behind” by recent economic change.
Despite the political importance of the communities that the FE and skills sector serves, the report — sponsored by the Further Education Trust for Leadership — warns that the FE and skills sector faces both financial pressures and an uncertain policy environment. It also explains how leaving the European Union could present a massive opportunity for the sector.
The report argues that maximising FE and skills’ ability to boost the technical skills of British workers, young and old, should be an urgent priority for politicians, given that Brexit may reduce the number of skilled European workers in the UK. FE and skills providers, in partnership with employers, are particularly well-placed to promote the lifelong learning that will be needed in the global economy of the 21st Century – many workers in their 50s and 60s will find training at their local college more convenient and relevant than a university degree.