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Time to act on recruitment

Data analysed by Lifelong Learning UK may have provoked your columnist Stephen Jones to indulge in a flight of fancy (A third-world conspiracy, FE Focus, January 27), but the facts are anything but funny.

Our analysis of the Staff Individualised Records colleges submit to the Learning and Skills Council is confirmation that we need to address a demographic timebomb. The bulk of college staff are in their 40s and 50s.

Just 19 per cent are aged under 35. Action on several fronts is necessary, especially as all areas of the economy will soon be recruiting from a shrinking population who are of working age. Employers will obviously be in competition to secure the available talent.

As the body responsible for workforce development, we are in the process of developing standards-based qualifications structures and career pathways that will offer more flexibility and opportunity to existing and prospective staff.

But more will need to be done and that must include looking very hard at how we can invest in our workforce, and make working in colleges and the wider sector a career of first choice for those from the UK and beyond.

David Hunter Chief executive Lifelong Learning UK London

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