The FE sector has its first ever chartered body after the Institution for Further Education (IFE) was awarded a Royal Charter by the Queen.
The IFE was established in 2013 by Lord Lingfield, with the aim of promoting the reputation and standing of the FE sector.
It now has a mission to bring together the best colleges and training providers across the sector and to promote, recognise and celebrate their professionalism and success.
The news was announced by the Privy Council today. Lord Lingfield, the first chair of the chartered institution, said: “This is a historic and long-awaited development. The new institution will give the sector its first ever chartered body.
“It will be governed by the sector, for the sector. It will be part of the work of driving forward professionalism in further education, celebrating and building on what we do well, and bringing together the best-performing organisations to take that work further.
“It will showcase what is best about the sector. I look forward to it helping to achieve for the sector a status both nationally and internationally equivalent to that enjoyed by our higher education colleagues.”
Skills minister Nick Boles, who supported the IFE’s charter application, said he looked forward to its work promoting world-class skills provision.
“A skilled workforce, able to meet the needs of employers and industries, is vital to our continued economic growth,” he said. “Bringing together FE providers to encourage high standards will ensure that qualifications are sought-after and respected by employers and learners.”
The process of appraising and admitting members to the new body is planned to begin in the autumn.
To start with, membership will be open to colleges and training providers in receipt of public funding from the Skills Funding Agency and who can satisfy the institution’s quality standards.
Prospective applicants will have to undergo an appraisal process before gaining membership. The body will be known as the Chartered Institution for Further Education.
Gill Clipson, deputy chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “It is excellent news for the sector that the former IFE has now been given a Royal Charter. We look forward to working with them to understand how they will work and the benefits they could bring to our members.
“Clearly a lot of work has been going on to achieve this status and our congratulations go to the organisation.”