Further Education is key to our skills agenda and needs to be protected says Eastwood

Alliance Economy Spokesperson, Sorcha Eastwood, has warned that short-term thinking could undermine our FE sector and leave us with serious long-term problems.

Economy Sorcha Eastwood

Speaking after meeting with FE lecturers, Eastwood said she acknowledges the budgetary pressures Departments are under but that without talented and dedicated lecturing staff and their support teams, we don’t have an FE sector.
“The Department for Economy can’t on the one hand outline a skills strategy which rightly acknowledges Further Education as a key economic enabler and central to developing a culture of life-long learning and on the other be expected to oversee further erosion of provision.”
“I understand there are ongoing conversations about the transformation of our FE sector and we need to see what those options are. That process needs to take place, along with the consideration of other reforms before we hear any talk about redundancies.”
“We have had years of underinvestment in our FE system and over time, it has become clear that those working in the sector have felt undervalued and a disparity is evident between those working in FE compared to other educators and professionals working in that ecosystem.”
“The UK Government needs to reflect on the reality that additional cuts to Further Education deepen our future economic and social problems. The alternative is investment to save. Work with staff, communities and employers to create a thriving FE environment that is empowered to meet the skill needs now and into the future.”