The FE Commissioner has tasked colleges with increasing their share of apprenticeships and skills bootcamps.
Shelagh Legrave told today’s Association of Colleges she wants to support colleges to grow their market share in apprenticeships delivery by “at least 10 per cent”. Colleges currently deliver less than a fifth of apprenticeship starts annually despite repeated ministers urging them to stop letting private providers “nick your lunch” in this space since 2015.
The FE Commissioner also said she wants to support colleges to grow their market share of skills bootcamps delivery by increasing the number of colleges involved by “a minimum of 25 per cent”. It comes after FE Week revealed last week that over two-thirds of colleges currently do not deliver the flagship government scheme.
The targets from Legrave, who is now two years in post having previously been the principal of the Chichester College Group, came hours after skills minister Robert Halfon also urged colleges to step up in the skills bootcamps space.
Around £600 million has been earmarked to fund the programmes, designed to quickly get people into employment in skills shortage areas, both nationally and in mayoral combined authorities between 2020 and 2025. There were over 16,000 bootcamps starts in 2021-22, which rose to over 40,000 in 2022-23.
FE Week reported last week that the complex funding models, administrative burdens, and a risk-averse attitude have kept most colleges away from delivering the scheme.
Halfon said today: “I would encourage all colleges here today to apply for skills bootcamp funding and embrace this unique entry point for adult learners.”
Other key performance objectives set by Legrave included reducing the time colleges spent in intervention by 50 per cent, and for 75 per cent of colleges to have participated in some form of “active support” that her team offers.