Leading further education figures have warned that colleges could close, the economic recovery could stall and social cohesion could be threatened unless the sector is given more money.
With institutions already having been forced to make huge savings, and the skills budget set for a further £271 million drop next year, college and staff representatives are claiming providers will have to make “difficult decisions” about cutting jobs and courses under the new government.
Julian Gravatt, assistant chief executive of the Association of Colleges, tells TES the sector will face more “acute challenges” and the prospect of fewer or smaller colleges.
Andrew Harden, the University and College Union’s national official for FE, warns ministers will “struggle” with policies like getting people back to work if they don’t put more money into FE. “You can’t grow the economy with a dumbed-down workforce,” he says.
However, there are signs that the difficult times could bring the FE sector together like never before.
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