Government budgets are of course finite — but our front page exposes questionable priorities over how it is being handed out.

How can it be right that apprenticeship providers could be short-changed, while the well-documented UTC fiasco is going to be propped up by even more handouts?

Lord Baker’s UTC project is in trouble and ministers are wrong to throw more money at it.

It also worries me that colleges are being encouraged to climb on the consultancy gravy train over area reviews.

Isn’t the FE Commissioner and his team supposed to provide the expert guidance over where mergers are needed and how to maximise benefit for everyone involved?

If highly paid college management teams can’t then implement the recommendations themselves, they probably aren’t fit for purpose.

Ministers keep telling everyone who will listen that apprenticeships are the overriding priority for FE, and providers across the country must play their part in boosting the number of starts.

If there really is more to this then bluster and rhetoric, they should send out a clear message by investing in them properly.


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