Delighted to accept role as a national Further Education leader

Since I penned my last column, I’ve been out and about attending a wide range of meetings and conferences around the future of colleges and leadership, including in two of the UK’s capitals in Belfast and London.

The meeting in Belfast was part of the work I’m doing with the Independent Commission on the College of the Future as the representative for College Principals in England, a role which I am incredibly enthusiastic about as the representative for an entire nation of colleges.

I joined my Principal colleagues from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, together with other members of the Commission, where we had some valuable and constructive conversations about the UK’s future workforce, industry involvement in education and the core purpose for colleges in the future across the four nations as we work towards our draft vision.

I left feeling hugely optimistic about the future of skills development and how it is going to support the post-Brexit economy, the prosperity of individuals in the years to come, and the role that colleges will play in this essential drive to skill young talent.

That brings me neatly on to another new development, and that is my appointment to the National Leaders of Further Education programme, where I join 10 esteemed colleagues from colleges around the country. Working together with fellow members, we will provide strategic mentoring and support to other colleges that need to improve, and we are able to determine the best way to support the particular needs of the college or colleges we are working with.

I’m thrilled to accept this role, as driving improvement in Further Education is something I am passionate about. I’m relishing the opportunity to share the good practices we enjoy at Nelson and Colne College Group to improve education standards nationally, while gaining fresh ideas on where we can strengthen the way we operate.

I can’t end my monthly column without a mention of National Apprenticeship Week – and what a celebration it has been over the last five days. It’s been a real showcase of how Apprentices and Apprenticeship programmes have a positive impact on the performance of employers across a wide range of industry sectors, and the knock-on positive effect a skilled workforce has on the economy.

I took real pleasure from seeing the case studies of Apprentices from our employer partners being shared widely on social media throughout this week, and I would encourage you to have a look at some of the exceptional individuals and their journeys that have been shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. I’m equally proud of the culture we have at College in terms of growing our own talent through Apprenticeships in a variety of College departments.

Until next month, Amanda.