The challenges faced by the British economy are considerable, but the reality is that we are leaving the European Union; the question then becomes how do we best meet these challenges and create an adaptive, resilient and highly skilled Britain?
As well as setting out the challenges that Brexit poses, we wanted to also highlight the steps being taken by Government and the FE sector to ensure that the UK can thrive in the post-Brexit world. In this respect, initiatives to reform technical and professional education take on an added degree of importance. The primacy given to skills within the Government’s Industrial Strategy shows that education and training will be a key driver of Britain’s future economic prosperity. We therefore welcome the proposals for the implementation of the Sainsbury Review and the Government’s budget announcement to allocate £500 million a year to simplify and enhance technical and professional education pathways. These reforms are not a fully realised solution to the challenges posed by Brexit, but they represent an important step to provide the UK with the skills it needs to compete in what remains a globalised economy.
This point of view has been produced through conversations with Collab Group Principals to understand how Brexit will impact their colleges. Whilst Collab Group Principals expressed concerns relating to a range of issues, there was a sense of confidence expressed in the ability of FE to rise to the occasion and meet the challenges of Brexit head on. This paper does not seek to minimise the challenges that Brexit poses, rather it will present them within a broader context of how FE can build on the work already being undertaken to equip Britain with the skills it needs to drive future economic growth.