Sector leaders spell out key issues for Shadow Business Secretary

Apprenticeships and government cuts to FE were among the top issues on the agenda for sector leaders keen to meet new Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle.

Welcoming Ms Eagle to her new role, a number of FE and skills sector bodies have outlined the key areas they would like to see her address in shaping Labour policy.

Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said he would be demonstrating to Ms Eagle and new Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell the significant contribution that colleges made towards education and training, during “a challenging time for the FE sector”.

Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said: “We look forward to working with the new opposition frontbench on how to maximise investment in education, skills and employment.”

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said he would be talking to Ms Eagle about the challenges facing post-16 education providers as a result of funding cuts and teacher recruitment shortages.

David Hughes, chief executive of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, said: “I’m looking forward to working with Labour’s new shadow cabinet on promoting policies that deliver a truly lifelong learning society where high quality apprenticeships are as visible and attractive as going to university.”

A spokesperson for the University and College Union, said: “Any new shadow minister has a pretty full in tray, but we hope they will recognise that FE needs adequate resources to fulfil its key role in developing the nation’s skills while keeping adult education diverse and  accessible.”

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said she was looking forward to discussing with Ms Eagle how FE “is facing unrelenting reform and restructuring, and is treated with disdain by the current government.”