Collaborators not competitors

5th January 2001 at 00:00
Suddenly community groups and charities have an important part to play in implementing government policy. On social inclusion, for instance. But are they ready for such work? And does it fall to FE to fill the training gaps? Martin Whittaker reports

I would say that the voluntary sector has a particular role to play in terms of widening participation and in giving access to groups that are harder to reach.

There is a small ethnic minority population in Yeovil, which is particularly difficult to reach. A voluntary group, Learning Voices, was formed 18 months ago and has more recently begun to build links with the college. And we are now running English as a second language and IT provision. I think those sorts of links are invaluable.

In terms of large na-tional voluntary groups, I can't think that this collee has very strong links - that might just be our geography or history. If the college were approached by such a voluntary group, I would see them as potential collaborators, not as potential competitors.

There's no doubt for some adults and others that colleges as institutions present themselves as barriers. Some people are not attracted to college immediately, and the groups that reach out into some of those communities are in the voluntary sector.

I think it would be good if it were organised in such a way that it complemen-ted and collaborated with colleges. It's probably up to both sides.

But at this stage the voluntary sector needs to become well-organised, but it also needs to be-gin to make strategic links with colleges.

Richard Atkins is the principal of Yeovil College, South Somerset


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now