The main answer is that finance follows students and colleges which have been successful in recruiting, especially in disadvantaged areas, reap the reward. If other institutions gripe they should do so o the Executive and not to the funding council. Within the overarching social inclusion strategy, better training ranks highly. Wendy Alexander, Lifelong Learning Minister, describes it as the "need to match those without work to the jobs without workers". Bursary money is also shared out in a way which benefits target groups of students and therefore particular colleges.
Ms Alexander's exhortations translate into funding formulae which also require colleges to be well managed. There is an irony that while principals and boards wrestle to secure the best deals and to apply resources fruitfully, the minister's own performance, wearing her enterprise and tourism tammy, would in a college have had the headhunters searching for a new principal and attracted funding council ire.