This week marks the culmination of the “Love our Colleges” campaign, and is a good opportunity to recognise the work our local colleges do providing students with valuable skills for the workplace, helping to develop their career opportunities and strengthen our economy, both locally and nationally. As an example, The Warwickshire Colleges Group, which operates Moreton Morrell College in my constituency, contributes over £706 million to the region’s economy annually and supports nearly 29,000 jobs.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the UK is one of the highest spenders on tertiary education in the world, and we are committed to supporting our colleges now and into the future. As with all areas of government and public spending, the answer as to how do we improve matters is not just by spending more, but by innovating. The Taking Teaching Further scheme commits £5million of public money to help colleges train industry experts in priority sectors like education and childcare, digital and construction and STEM subjects to become teachers for those in post-16 and further education. The first 20 colleges to receive some of this funding have just been announced, and I hope the colleges that serve our local area will apply for this scheme once it reopens in December.
Academic education is of course important but there is nothing inferior about technical and vocational education. Whether you are a young person who has just finished their GCSEs who doesn’t wish to pursue an academic course, or an adult seeking retraining or enhancement of existing skills, attending one of our local college can help you make the most of your talent and ambitions.