Speaking in response to the Budget announcement today, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:
“I said last week that the Chancellor should take a long term and moral view of investment in young people and adults to address the skills challenges which he has so eloquently described in today’s Budget. Unfortunately, he has chosen to make short term decisions which tinker at the edges. The uncertainty around Brexit may explain this cautious approach and we would hope to see more long term consideration in the next spending review.
“Having said that, we have to welcome the new investment in the National Retraining Scheme, the focus on maths and the extra £20 million for colleges to deliver T Levels. It highlights the commitment to high quality technical education. The prominence the Chancellor gave to skills in his speech today suggests that the Government is finally understanding the critical role colleges have in a post-Brexit world.
“The Chancellor did, however, miss the opportunity to address the chronic underfunding of all 16 to 19-years-olds in education and training. The case we made in our joint campaign with school and college bodies shows that 16 to 19 funding levels overall remain inadequate to support young people to enter adult life. This must be addressed in the next Budget and Spending Review.”