Towards a social agenda

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

We have a community education programme that is about access for the disadvantaged. There is a consultative group that involves the voluntary sector - agencies who meet with us to consult and shape the provision.

We also have a similar arrangement with the voluntary sector. We work with the Salvation Army, for example, using their facilities to get outreach venues for working with disadvantaged groups.

There has been criticism that colleges are not responsive enoug, but really that's a funding council problem rather than a college problem.

We need more flexibility to provide funding to get into those communities and work with the voluntary sector. I think the Learning and Skills Council will bring more flexibil-ity. The training and enterprise councils had a local initiative fund. What the Tecs did was work with employers, particularly on new initiatives, supporting economic partnerships or training workforces. Now that pot of money is being created as an official resource for the LSC. My guess is that given the Government of the day, there'll be a strong steer in the direction of the social agenda.

Gary Williams is the principal of Weston College, North Somerset

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today