Alex Proudfoot, Chief Executive of Independent Higher Education, has commented on the Government’s proposals for skills and further education, as well as the Department for Education’s interim response to the Augar proposals for higher education funding:
“We welcome many of the announcements in the skills white paper and the Department’s interim response to the Augar review of post-18 education funding.
The focus on employer engagement, the development and roll-out of higher technical qualifications, as well the commitment to the Lifelong Loan Entitlement should enable learners of all ages to be better equipped for the labour market – indeed allow them to equip themselves through greater choice and flexibility in funding. The decline of adult education provision over recent years has been devastating and must be reversed. The economic impact of Covid-19 only accelerates this need and these proposals should help.
We would like to encourage the government to focus more on professional education for those individuals in work and who need to re-skill through short, career focused courses, and with ‘step on and step off’ models of learning. A clearer signal of intent from the government would be welcome, and a range of tax and financial incentives could help to increase choice and quality for adult learners.
SME and micro providers represent many of the pioneers, originators and creatives behind some of the UK’s most successful institutions. We are calling on the government to place far more emphasis on their role in further and higher education and provide the financial support to back them up – including through policies such as the scaleup fund for specialist teaching we proposed last year.
A key area of concern for the sector remains social mobility, particularly in the context of the economic and social challenges resulting from the pandemic. Now is not the time to restrict routes into higher education, and we will be making the case for the continuation of foundation year provision as a high quality and inclusive option in higher education.”
- On 21st January 2021