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Fairer funding for Bradford College students

Bradford College’s Chris Webb joined other leaders from Colleges across the region at the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday 1st March to support the Mind the Skills Gap campaign, launched by the Future Skills Coalition. A campaign event was attended by education and training leaders such as Chris Webb, as well as MPs and peers. Chris Webb, Principal and Chief Executive has urged Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to increase funding in the budget for technical education in the upcoming spring statement. 


Nationally, college finances remain below what they were in 2010, according to the economics think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies [1]. Funding cuts mean spending per pupil in 2024-25 will still be around 5%, which is below the 2010-11 levels and for adult students it is 22% below 2009–10 levels.

Principals and senior leaders from Further Education institutions across the UK and West Yorkshire region – including Bradford College, Leeds College of Building, Leeds City College, Calderdale, Kirklees, Keighley, and Shipley Colleges – attended the campaign outside Parliament.

Mr Webb said: “A growing economy needs investment, but sadly the Further Education sector has been overlooked yet again. I’m supporting the Mind the Skills Gap campaign at Parliament to highlight to MPs and Government that without additional investment, colleges will not be able to fill critical skills shortages in key priority areas of the economy and deliver the labour market the country so vitally needs.”

With job vacancies at near record levels of over 1 million according to the Office for National Statistics, businesses are struggling to fill important posts which is reducing their ability to grow, which in turn hampers the health of the local and national economy.

Mind the Skills Gap aims to highlight the important role colleges and other further education providers play in giving people the skills they need to enter these often specialised jobs. Colleges could do even more with greater funding.

Bradford West MP Naz Shah (L) meets with Chris Webb Principal & CEO of Bradford College (R) during the Mind the Skills Gap campaign in London to discuss fairer funding for colleges. 

The Future Skills Coalition is supported by sector organisations the Association of Colleges, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers and City & Guilds, has outlined three priorities to tackle this problem: a right to lifelong learning; fair, accessible and effective funding; and a national strategy to support local, inclusive growth.

Mr Webb said: “A growing economy needs investment, but sadly the Further Education sector has been overlooked yet again. I’m supporting the Mind the Skills Gap campaign at Parliament to highlight to MPs and Government that without additional investment, colleges will not be able to fill critical skills shortages in key priority areas of the economy and deliver the labour market the country so vitally needs.”

With job vacancies at near record levels of over 1 million according to the Office for National Statistics, businesses are struggling to fill important posts which is reducing their ability to grow, which in turn hampers the health of the local and national economy.

Mind the Skills Gap aims to highlight the important role colleges and other further education providers play in giving people the skills they need to enter these often specialised jobs. Colleges could do even more with greater funding.

The Future Skills Coalition is supported by sector organisations the Association of Colleges, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers and City & Guilds, has outlined three priorities to tackle this problem: a right to lifelong learning; fair, accessible and effective funding; and a national strategy to support local, inclusive growth.


The national campaign, Mind the Skills Gap, is organised by the Association of Colleges and aims to highlight to parliamentarians, Government, and other key decision makers that without further investment in further education, the sector will not be able to fill the skills gaps the country needs. https://www.aoc.co.uk/news-campaigns-parliament/march-1-2023-parliamentary-day-of-action

West Yorkshire Principals campaigning for fair funding for Further Education and skills: (L-R) Diana Bird Principal of Shipley College, David Malone Principal of Calderdale College, Nikki Davis Principal of Leeds College of Building, Kevin O’Hare Principal of Keighley College, Bill Jones Executive Principal of Leeds City College, David Hughes Chief Executive at the Association of Colleges, and Chris Webb CEO and Principal of Bradford College.

Published: 8th March 2023
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