Determined principals of further education colleges serving North Yorkshire, York and East Riding refused to let Covid19 spoil the celebrations for Colleges Week 2020 (19-23 October).
They worked together to arrange a social distanced photograph to spell out the ‘Love our Colleges’ message to celebrate and raise awareness of the opportunities available to post-16 learners across the area.
All the colleges in the region are promoting the benefits of gaining new skills during the week, through social media, invitations to local MPs and talking about the work they do.
Adrian Sugden, Principal at Henshaws Specialist College, said:
Pulling this photograph together was a lot of fun, but there is a serious message behind it.
Colleges are here to make sure that all our students, regardless of age, background and circumstances are equipped with the skills they need to achieve their ambitions in work and in life.
Danny Wild, Principal at Harrogate College, added:
This is more important than ever as colleges will be the places where people who are out of work turn to, to retrain for a new job opportunity or think about upskilling as the job market changes. We want people to know we are here for them.
This year’s theme is colleges building communities, boosting businesses, and supporting people. Bringing the whole further education community together, the week celebrates the impact of colleges on people, employers, and the economy. All the local colleges are members of the Association of Colleges (AoC) which wants to see colleges and funding for them prioritised nationally and locally to aid the recovery from the pandemic that will be vital to the future success of the country.
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:
The spending review must acknowledge the massive contribution further education makes to society and our economy. It must be the starting point in providing the right levels of investment so that colleges can play their full part in a successful economy as the country recovers from the pandemic and post-Brexit.
Despite educating 2.2 million people every year, including more than 600,000 16 to 18-year-olds, colleges have been neglected in recent years. The Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this month to expand the training system with colleges at the heart of the skills agenda is welcome. All colleges need now is the investment from government to be able to support even more people and employers. That will improve the life chances of millions of people but it needs college funding to be at the forefront of the upcoming spending review.
This is the third annual Colleges Week which takes place from 19 – 23 October, with hundreds of events expected to take place across England.