College leader: ‘I don’t see skills devolution happening’

Association of Colleges chief executive David Hughes says he is 'pessimistic' about the devolution process

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There’s no evidence that “proper” skills devolution is going to happen, David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, has said.

Mr Hughes, speaking to Tes at the Learning and Work Institute’s IntoWork Convention in London yesterday, said he did not think that there were currently any cabinet ministers committed to making devolution work, and that the devolved regions, such as those in Manchester and Liverpool, were currently “working on their own”.

'No concerted effort'

“I’m really pessimistic about it because there’s nobody I see who’s driving that, and I don’t see any concerted effort from the city regions to actually come forward and say: ‘Do you know what, what you’ve offered us is insufficient’," Mr Hughes said. "They’re all kind of working on their own...I just don’t see it happening."

Mr Hughes also said that devolution could prove difficult without the government handing significantly more powers to devolved administrations.

This week, the Local Government Association published a report calling for the government to go “radically further and faster” to devolve skills, apprenticeships and employment provision to combined authorities across England within five years.

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