Fetl research grants awarded to the Association of Colleges and Policy Connect

The Further Education Trust for Leadership (Fetl) has awarded research grants to the Association of Colleges (AoC) and Policy Connect.

The AoC’s project will see it work alongside the University of Oxford to investigate the impact of the government’s devolution and localism proposals on FE.

Meanwhile, a Fetl spokesperson said that parliamentary networking group Policy Connect will research “how innovation is led in FE and skills across the UK”.

More than 46 applications were submitted to Fetl, with proposals totalling £2.8m, in its second round of grant applications that closed on May 1.

While Fetl declined to comment on how much AoC and Policy Connect will receive through the grants, it said that sums of up to £100,000 had been available to recipients.

Reflecting on her organisation’s research plan, AoC deputy chief executive Gill Clipson (pictured) said: “FE colleges have a vital role to play in the development and delivery of high-level professional and technical education and training that is necessary to supply the skills that are required to grow a modern local economy.

“Colleges are firmly part of their local communities. However, the concept of localism is being promulgated at a time of fiscal constraint and this may bring challenges that are as yet not fully appreciated.

“Leadership in a world of change will help inform policy makers, as well as colleges, as all parties strive to ensure that any system of reform protects the positive things that are known to work as well as introducing changes that will stand the test of time and deliver the envisaged improvements.”

A spokesperson from Policy Connect said: “We are providing a real opportunity for people in the sector to get involved as we will be bringing inquiry sessions to different parts of the UK.

“We are looking forward to hearing what people have to say about the challenges the sector is facing today and how these could be overcome in the future through innovation.”

Fetl selected five organisations to receive a total of £270,000 in research grants following its first round of applications, as reported by FE Week in March.

The winning organisations, chosen ahead of 51 other applicants, were the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, Coleg Gwent, EMFEC, the University of Hull, and Working Well.

It comes after Fetl, which was launched last summer with a budget of up to £5.5m left over following the closure of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, announced in January the names of the first four individuals it had chosen for research fellowships.

Alex Day MBE, Ruth Allen, Tim Ward and Ann Creed received up to £40,000 each to fund their research on attitudes to risk in leadership of sixth form colleges, leadership challenges among third sector providers, the impact of leadership on part-time teachers and fostering creative leadership in FE.

Ayub Khan (pictured right), interim chief executive at Fetl, said: “Fetl was set up to facilitate and share the knowledge and thinking of professionals and leaders in the sector, so we are really pleased to be able to take this forward with Policy Connect and the AoC.”

Ayub Khan
Ayub Khan

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