A CALL to make funding a priority for colleges has been made as York marks Colleges Week 2020.

During Colleges Week, which runs from October 19-23, York College recognises the important role colleges play up and down the country in helping to build communities, boost businesses, and support people.

Lee Probert, college chief executive, said: “We want to ensure that all our students, regardless of age, background and circumstances are properly equipped with the skills they need to achieve their ambitions in work and in life.

"This is more important than ever as colleges will be where people who are out of work turn to retrain for a new job opportunity or think about upskilling as the job market changes.

“The spending review must acknowledge the massive contribution further education makes to society and our economy as well as the very real role we will play in the country’s economic recovery. It must be the starting point in providing the right levels of investment so that colleges can play their full part in a successful economy as the country recovers from the pandemic and post-Brexit.”

The week is a national campaign led by the Association of Colleges (AoC) and brings the country’s Further Education community together.

York College is a member of the AoC, which wants to see colleges and funding for them prioritised nationally and locally. Colleges will be at the centre of the country’s economic recovery as we emerge from the pandemic, providing training and retraining opportunities to support people back into work.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “This year has been unprecedented in every way, but colleges have risen to all the challenges thrown at them.

"Colleges Week is a celebration of all the amazing things colleges do day in day out for students, employers and communities. It’s also about recognising just how important colleges are as we rebuild for a better future through retraining, skills and education.

“Despite educating 2.2 million people every year, including more than 600,000 16 to 18-year-olds, colleges have been neglected in recent years.

"The Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this month to expand the training system with colleges at the heart of the skills agenda is welcome.

"All colleges need now is the investment from government to be able to support even more people and employers.

"That will improve the life chances of millions of people but it needs college funding to be at the forefront of the upcoming spending review. Colleges like York play a key part in doing this."