It's time to think inside the box

New thinktank to fund research opportunities for college leaders

A new further education thinktank is offering fellowships of up to pound;50,000 for managers and leaders to carry out research on leadership issues affecting the sector.

The Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL) is taking over the work of the scrapped Learning and Skills Improvement Service with pound;5.5 million of its leftover budget.

For its first project, launched last week, it is looking for "ambitious, bold, creative" leaders who are passionate about FE and skills, and who want to explore different aspects of leadership that will affect the future of the sector.

Successful applicants will be funded for a period of about three to four months in order to carry out their research, starting in early 2015. They will collaborate with an as yet-to-be-appointed FETL university chair in FE leadership at the Institute of Education (IoE) in London.

FETL chief executive Mark Ravenhall said that colleges were constantly asked to "think outside the box" but he did not think it was a useful phrase for the sector.

"We're not going to be prescriptive about the areas people explore," he said. "The answers to the challenges we face are somewhere inside the box, but we won't find them unless people are given the chance to think about what they might be."

The deadline for applications is 10 October. For more information, visit

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