New alliance to offer fellowships for FE staff

Colleges will have to be a member of both organisations and have 'chartered status' for staff to be eligible.

Colleges will have to be a member of both organisations and have 'chartered status' for staff to be eligible.

Two college membership bodies have formed a “strategic alliance” that could soon see fellowships awarded to the “next generation of FE leaders”.

The Collab Group and the Chartered Institution for Further Education announced today that they have signed a memorandum of understanding committing themselves to working together on employer engagement, training future college leaders and to “act as a unified and powerful voice of advocacy”.

One of the benefits of the new partnership will be the ability to grant “fellowships” through the Chartered Institution to graduates of Collab’s leadership courses and local college CPD programmes. 

Ian Pretty, chief executive of Collab Group, believes offering fellowships to FE staff will not only “add to their CVs” but will boost the esteem and prestige of FE professionals. “It also adds to the idea that we have a professional class of people who are qualified fellows” Pretty said.

But staff will only be eligible if they work at a Collab member college that has been awarded chartered status through the Chartered Institution.

To date only five of Collab’s 29 member colleges have been granted chartered status: Bedford College Group; Blackpool and The Fylde College; Bridgwater and Taunton College; London South East Colleges and The Trafford College Group.

The Chartered Institution now has 20 members, six of which are independent training providers.

Pretty says more Collab Group members are “now in conversations” to go for chartered status, but insisted his members won’t receive preferential treatment.

The Chartered Institution for Further Education was given royal approval to confer chartered status in 2013 with the support of then minister for skills John Hayes. It relaunched in April 2021 as an independent organisation no longer in receipt of Department for Education funding.

Dawn Ward, principal and chief executive of Burton and South Derbyshire College, has been a leading advocate for chartered status in further education. Speaking as deputy chair at the Chartered Institution, Ward said the new partnership with the Collab Group will elevate professional status within the sector.

“The Chartered Institution is the only FE representative body with royal assent to provide chartered status to leading FE and skills providers. We have exciting plans to build on this and deliver new services to the sector that will celebrate dual professionalism of FE practitioners as well as elevating their professional status,” Ward said.

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