How to generate income, meet Study Programme requirements and engage employers to weather the FE funding crisis

This week Martin Donnelly, the permanent secretary for BIS, told the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee hearing on ‘overseeing financial sustainability in the FE sector’ that the future of the Further Education sector is likely to feature “significantly fewer” colleges.

This will not be welcome news to many working in the sector. Martin explains that they “don’t have a target” but the results of the area reviews taking place will likely, in his personal view leave us with significantly fewer colleges. As he puts it, “Our concern is that we end up with very resilient colleges able to provide a very high quality service.”

The impact of this on colleges is clear; Ofsted inspection results are going to be increasingly important as are learner destinations and grades. On top of that colleges need to be focusing on operating like businesses, generating as much income as possible whilst keeping their costs low in order to weather the storm of continued Government cuts.

We completely sympathise with the difficult time many of our partner colleges are going through and one of the pieces of advice we are giving them is that they need to start looking outwards at ways to generate income, instead of relying on looking inwards and making cuts.

By this we mean several things:

With careful strategic planning colleges can also make savings in vital areas, for example:

We currently help our partner colleges with all of the above, through a mix of employability events, staff or management training, strategic consultancy, Personal Career Networks training, apprenticeship provision and employer engagement services. It is our hope that by providing support and guidance based on our extensive experience of meeting Study Programme requirements for Work Experience and employability skills we can help our partners create new income streams and provide their learners with the best foundation to go out into the world of work with. If you would like to know how we can help your college generate income and develop an effective employer engagement strategy please get in touch.