The FE and skills sector has welcomed the news that Peter Lauener has been appointed permanent chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).
Skills minister Nick Boles announced today that Mr Lauener will take up his role on November 3.
Although Mr Lauener will remain as chief executive of the Education Funding Agency (EFA), a role he has held since it was formed in 2012, the two agencies will not be merged and he will have separate accountability for each budget.
Mr Boles said Mr Lauener brings a “wealth of experience” in skills and in working with employers.
Mr Lauener said he was “delighted” to take on the role and was looking forward to the challenge of making a difference in the skills sector. “I have a long-standing interest and commitment to apprenticeships and skills and I am keen to be involved in the next stage of reform,” he said.
Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges AoC, called the appointment “sensible and pragmatic” and described Mr Lauener as a “very capable and a trusted figure within the further education sector”.
“We do not believe that Peter’s appointment necessarily will, or should, herald the return of one agency managing all college funding,” he added.
“The EFA funds many thousands of academies, as well as 16 to 18 provision in colleges, so adding all adult funding too might extend its remit too far.”
Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said the appointment would allow the joining up of a number of areas of policy development across the 16-18 and 19+ sectors.
“We will be delighted to work with Peter to realise the ambitions to grow the skills programmes such as English and maths, traineeships and apprenticeships,” said Mr Segal.
“Peter’s commitment to ensuring that the apprenticeship programme is a real option for the 16 -18 cohort will be very important as the apprenticeship reforms take shape.”
Mr Lauener will replace interim chief executive Keith Smith, who took over from Barbara Spicer in September.