The first members to join the new Chartered Institution for Further Education have today been announced.
Blackpool and the Fylde College, Bridgwater College and Hawk Training are the first three members of the CIFE, a new membership body "for the higher-performing FE colleges and training providers in the UK".
The Institution for Further Education was set up in 2013 by Lord Lingfield to raise the status of the sector. It was granted chartered status in October 2015. Its aim is to "bring together the best training providers across the sector and collectively to promote, recognise and celebrate their professionalism and success".
Organisations are eligible to join the CIFE if they received an overall grade of "outstanding" or "good" in their most recent Ofsted inspection, and are funded by the Skills Funding Agency. The annual membership fee stands at £5,000, with applicants being charged an additional £3,000 to cover the costs of a review to ensure they meet the required standards.
Lord Lingfield, chairman of the CIFE, said the first members "have all passed a rigorous process which has confirmed their position as leading performers in the sector".
"I look forward to working with them to begin driving forward professionalism in further education," he added. "We celebrate what the sector does well, and our aim is to achieve for the further education sector a status both nationally and internationally equivalent to that enjoyed by our higher education colleagues."
'Membership celebrates our professionalism and success'
Bridgwater College was named FE college of the year in this year’s TES FE Awards. Principal Mike Robbins said he was "delighted" to join the CIFE.
"It has long been our vision to be a world-class education and training organisation, and our CIFE membership recognises and celebrates our professionalism and success," he said. "We look forward to working in partnership with the CIFE and its members to promote and uphold the very highest standards for the sector, and to inspire others to attain membership of this prestigious body."
Bev Robinson, principal of Blackpool and the Fylde College, said: "We look forward to working proactively with the Chartered Institution for Further Education to promote its mission of advocating high-quality provision across the sector."
Crawford Knott, managing director of Hawk Training, said that becoming the first independent learning provider to join the CIFE was "an integral part of maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and quality in further education".
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