New government uncertain but education must win, says Learning Curve Group - sponsored feature

Learning Curve Group says the main parties have pledged to fill the skills gap but education is too important to win votes - sponsored feature Brenda McLeish, Chief Executive of the Learning Curve Group
Brenda McLeish, Learning Curve Group

While policy and presentation are never far apart in politics, the latter should never be used to conceal a lack of direction in the former.

Within education, honest policy is surely what matters above all in this General Election to voters and those working in the sector, such as Learning Curve Group.

Tony Blair’s famous “education, education, education” mantra was an incredibly powerful calling – and polling – card and helped him become prime minister.

This year’s campaign has thrown up nothing of such fundamental promise from any main party.

Yet with most observers believing the forthcoming ballot is too close to call, its outcome will still undoubtedly impact on the further education sector.

I speak from the experience of working in education for almost 20 years and today leading England’s largest education subcontractor partner.

We cannot be blinkered in this – our schoolchildren need learning that gives them every chance of success and those entering further education must be prepared for it, with courses available to suit their needs and ambitions.

In this Learning Curve Group excels, and our range of provision is extensive and tailored to meet many needs.

Our Skill Centres support young adults looking to train in areas such as construction, and we work with dozens of colleges nationally to provide courses that add to existing curriculums.

And our distance learning provision – in which we are a market leader – helps thousands of people a year gain workplace qualifications that make a real difference to their careers.

Every day our tutors witness the huge enthusiasm people have for learning new skills – they should continue to be inspired to learn at all stages of their lives.

In this age of austerity, questions of funding plague all political parties.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have pledged to protect the schools budget. But what about the FE sector?

Colleges have had to contend with large-scale cuts but both parties have made a fresh commitment to improving vocational qualifications and apprenticeships.

These are positive and welcome pledges and add to a general shift in recent political attitude towards non-academic qualifications.

Now, more than ever, the necessity of providing the support, through funding and training direction that allow people to gain the skills which suit this country’s economic needs, seems clear.

Skills gaps exist in fundamentally important areas – again both David Cameron and Ed Miliband seem aware of this and have promised measures in apprenticeships and technical education.

Each is also endorsing better maths provision, something Learning Curve Group already embeds in its courses.

Whichever party forms the next government, the real winners MUST be those relying on a good education to succeed.

Brenda McLeish is chief executive of Learning Curve Group


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