Colleges should look to generate more private income to protect themselves from government funding cuts, a further education leader has claimed.
In the wake of the news that colleges and training providers in England would be hit by pound;463 million in cuts to the adult skills budget by 2015-16, David Russell, chief executive of the Education and Training Foundation, has advised institutions to secure alternative income streams.
The Association of Colleges warned that the cuts would lead to job losses and course closures.
But by diversifying their sources of revenue and reducing their dependence on public funding, colleges could make themselves "more resilient", particularly in the light of the "difficult" recent funding announcement, Mr Russell said.
Rather than bemoaning national cuts, Mr Russell, who spent 16 years working in several senior roles at the Department for Education before starting his current job in January, called on institutions to "take control of [their] own agenda".
"It's a big strategic challenge for colleges and training providers," he said. "How they respond to [funding pressures] is what we're interested in.
"Rather than thinking about the difference between this year's budget and next year's budget, [colleges should say], let's think about what our five-year plan is, what our 10-year plan is.
"Let's think about our strategic relationship with employers, let's think about ourselves as social enterprises.Let's make ourselves less dependent on public funding so that actually we are more resilient if there's a cut."