Over 500 FE lecturers to come from industry as part of £24m support package ‘boost’

Over 500 people working in technical roles are to be enticed into training to be further education lecturers as part of a £24 million support package.

The Department for Education has fleshed out the details of the investment, after it was previously revealed when chancellor Sajid Javid announced a £400 million boost for the sector in August 2019.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has said ambitions for a world-beating technical education system “can only be achieved if we have outstanding teachers who will inspire the next generation”.

Included in the funding is £10 million to support up to 550 more people to train as lecturers in a range of technical subjects as part of the Taking Teaching Further programme.

Delivered by the Education and Training Foundation and first launched in 2018, the scheme has so far supported around 100 people to work in FE.

Taking Teaching Further is aimed at supporting recruitment to priority sectors ahead of the introduction of T-levels later this year, such as in education and childcare, digital, and construction, as well as engineering, manufacturing and other STEM subjects.

David Russell, chief executive of the ETF, said: “I encourage all colleges and FE providers to register and apply to take part in this important programme.”

The £24 million also includes £11 million to provide bursaries and grants worth up to £26,000 to attract people to train as FE lecturers.

There will also be a £3 million mentor training programmes, delivered by the ETF to FE lectures in the early years of their career.

Williamson has used the opportunity to pay tribute to the FE lecturers doing “fantastic jobs and changing lives,” while saying the investment is a “clear signal” of the government’s commitment to helping the sector recruit and retain staff.

News of the funding boost has been welcomed by sector organisations, with the deputy chief executive of the Association of Colleges Kirsti Lord saying they are “delighted” with the new investment, as “supporting FE providers to recruit and retain the best possible teachers must be a top priority for the government”.

“We believe this marks an important step in giving FE teaching the recognition and support it rightly deserves,” she added.

College principals have previously spoken with FE Week about their struggles with recruiting lecturers in specialist subjects, with one saying they are often “constrained by affordability”.

And the Augar Review, released last May, recommended investment in the FE workforce should be a “priority,” and there ought to be clear progression routes and development opportunities put together by the Association of Colleges and government.

The Department for Education has today also revealed plans for mandatory data collection on the workforce of every directly-funded FE provider.