Funding chiefs want colleges to have a major strategic role in the new regional agencies being set up to manage economic development, writes Ian Nash.
The Further Education Funding Council says the case is overwhelming as in each region colleges employ an average of 23,000 people, far more than virtually all other groups of employers.
Council members are understood to be angry that the contribution of FE to growth and competitiveness is constantly overlooked in government regional plans.
Recent Further Education Development Agency research - cited in the council's response - shows that six out of 10 colleges are the largest employers in their areas. Eight out of 10 also see economic development as a strategic management issue for the college, says FEDA.