I was delighted to see that the number of “good” or “outstanding” colleges in the north east is well above the national level, according to a recent Ofsted report.
This is fantastic news not just for the region’s Further Education sector, but the region as a whole. I would like to congratulate all my FE colleagues on continuing to raise the standards of education, training and skills across the north east and making a real difference to the communities they serve.
In this tough economic climate, we need to give local people optimism. Despite the challenges, North East businesses are still investing in growth.
Employers often tell us that they struggle to move forward as they just can’t find people with the skills that they need. We work in partnership with hundreds of employers and make sure that we understand what they want. This may be a bespoke Foundation Degree which we can write and validate ourselves, through to our Sector Based Work Academies, which provide a pipeline of job ready candidates and takes much of the cost and hassle out of the recruitment process.
In September we opened the College’s Rail Academy - the first of its kind in the North. It will be a regional hub for railway engineering – a major growth sector and a priority area for investment by the Government.
I believe that addressing these skills gaps and working with businesses is key to the future prosperity of the region and the FE sector as well as improving the life chances and opportunities for local people.