Make colleges ‘jointly responsible’ for local skills improvement plans, principals tell Zahawi

Leaders write to Zahawi calling for a strengthened role in the new policy

Leaders write to Zahawi calling for a strengthened role in the new policy

18 Feb 2022, 17:12

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Colleges should be made “jointly responsible” for the development of local skills improvement plans (LSIPs), principals involved in piloting the new policy have told the education secretary.

Twelve leaders have written to Nadhim Zahawi calling for their role in devising the plans to be “strengthened” and put on an equal footing as employer representative bodies.

LSIPs, which are being developed as part of the government’s skills bill, will aim to make colleges align the courses they offer to local employers’ needs.

Under the proposed legislation, only employer representative bodies such as chambers of commerce can “lead” on the plans, but they should be created in collaboration with colleges and training providers.

Several Lords called for the role of FE providers in the development of the plans to be boosted during the Lords’ stages of the bill. Now, Conservative MP Peter Aldous, has tabled an amendment calling for providers to have joint responsibility for the plans on a statutory footing.

This would build on the government’s own recently approved amendment, that ensures elected mayors have to be involved in agreeing the LSIP approach.

Colleges want the added responsibility to ensure they are not simply recipients of the plans and that they have equal say in the local strategies being deployed.

The principals involved in piloting LSIPs set out two other areas they believe the skills bill can be strengthened in their letter to Zahawi.

“The development of a national post-16 education and skills strategy, that is developed and held across government – and to which LSIPs would make reference, applying these priorities to their local context” is one.

The other is to “retain the skills development fund alongside LSIPs into one overarching model – strengthening the strategic capacity and responsibility of FE providers to work as partners with employers and other key stakeholders”.

Their letter, which you can read in full here, comes ahead of Monday’s report stage of the skills bill.



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  1. Derek Tilley

    In my years as Business develpment director of a large HE/FE college, local employers needs were almost unknown by the employer other than their immediate requirements. No account was taken of those students who wished to develop and perhaps move to another area for their career. It is imperative that Colleges are eaqual partners in any skills development strategy