A A A
Colleges Week SME Leader Survey text

News

Small Businesses Call for Urgent Action on Skills

 
At Bath College we were not surprised to hear small business leaders calling for urgent action on skills. We work with hundreds of businesses, large and small across Bath and North East Somerset and the wider West of England region and we understand the challenges they face.

 
Carole StottThis recent national survey of small business leaders conducted by Opinum reveals that more than half (53%) say that COVID-19 is now their key concern. More than two in five (44%) say that the skills gap in their sector is likely to increase because of threats such as COVID-19, and 54% believe that they are going to need to train their workforce to adapt to the opportunities and threats thrown up by the virus. 45% believe that it will become even more difficult to hire people with the right skills once the Brexit transition period has ended, and that the country’s skills gap will only get worse (44%). Seven out of ten businesses surveyed believe in the importance of colleges to tackle this.

 
Developing the skills of their present workforce and providing young people and adult career changers with the skills and talents that will help businesses to be more productive and succeed, is what we do. With more investment we can do more and alongside business organisations we are calling on government to invest and create a more flexible and agile skills system that helps us to be even more responsive to local business needs.

 
If you live in BANES then Bath is your college. We stand ready to do all we can to support our community: young people, adults, businesses, to gain the skills and talents they will need to succeed and thrive. Contact us if you think we could help you or your business. This week Bath College and colleges throughout England celebrate Colleges Week. If you agree that colleges and skills need more investment and support then write to your MP or take to social media using #LoveOurColleges #CollegesWeek

 
– Carole Stott
Chair of Governors, Bath College
 
 

SME LEADERS FEAR NOT ENOUGH IS BEING DONE TO HELP THEM PREPARE THEIR WORKFORCE FOR THE END OF THE BREXIT TRANSITION PERIOD

 

  • SMALL BUSINESS LEADERS CALL FOR URGENT ACTION ON SKILLED WORKFORCE
  • AS THE END OF THE BREXIT TRANSITION PERIOD LOOMS, SMEs BELIEVE NOT ENOUGH IS BEING DONE TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE THE SKILLED WORKFORCE THEY NEED
  • OVER HALF OF SMEs STATE, THEY WILL NEED TO RETRAIN THEIR WORKFORCE TO SURVIVE
  • MAJORITY SAY GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO PRIORITISE SKILLS BUT NOT ENOUGH IS BEING DONE TO HELP
  • BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND INSTITUTE OF DIRECTORS STRESS THAN SKILLS WILL BE VITAL SO NEED TO BE PRIORITISED

 

Association of Colleges (AoC) has published its latest bi-annual research showing the majority (68%) of SMEs say that if their business is going to “survive and thrive” then skills must be a top priority for the government.
 

Despite recent high-profile skills speeches and announcements, almost 40% of SME decision-makers say that it is more difficult now than it was five years ago to find employees with the right skills, and 53% still do not think that enough is being done to help them skill and reskill their workforce as we get closer to the end of the Brexit transition period.
 

Almost one in two (45%) believe that it will become even more difficult to hire people with the right skills once the Brexit transition period has ended, and that the country’s skills gap will only get worse (44%).
 

The national survey of SME leaders – conducted by Opinum – also shows that the impact of Brexit is no longer the biggest worry for businesses – more than half (53%) saying that COVID-19 is now their key concern. More than two in five (44%) say that the skills gap in their sector is likely to increase because of threats such as COVID-19, and 54% believe that they are going to need to train their workforce to adapt to the opportunities and threats thrown up by the virus.
 

The study, released to mark Colleges Week (19 – 23 October), shows that seven in 10 (71%) believe colleges are important to business for training and retraining staff. As a business, 39% say they would look to train, retrain or upskill their employees through colleges, compared to 21% who would turn to a university or 13% online courses. A further 44% believe colleges are best placed to skill their future workforce, compared to universities (22%) and schools (21%).
 

Further evidence of the importance of colleges to the UK’s future workforce shows around six in 10 (59%) say that it is important that their business has staff with Level 3 qualifications, all of which can be gained at college.
 

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges said:
 

“The economic recovery has to be skills-led if we are to support businesses and people through this pandemic. It is only through training and retraining that we will be able to make sure that people have the skills they need to keep their jobs and to apply for new ones, and that businesses have the employees they need. Both will allow the country to grow back better.
 

Skills gaps did not emerge in this pandemic, they are long standing challenges which have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the UK nearing the end of the Brexit transition period. Government has rightly expressed its commitment to prioritising skills, but now we need the investment to flow quickly to the right people and places. People and businesses need skills and training as an urgent priority if they are going to survive the coming months, and thrive in the coming years.
 

Colleges in every part of the country provide first-rate education and skills, working on average with more than 750 businesses in their local community, skilling, and reskilling business staff, helping them to overcome the problems of today and prepare for the challenges of tomorrow. Colleges already do so much to support business and they stand ready to do so much more.”
 

Joe Fitzsimons, Senior Policy Advisor, Institute of Directors said:

“Skills are fundamental to business, and the coronavirus outbreak has only made this clearer. However, the pandemic has also put further pressure on a training system that was already in need of an upgrade. For many firms, with uncertain cashflow, it’s proving challenging to invest further in training staff. Business leaders are ready to work with the education sector and government to ensure we can address crucial skills gaps in the months and years ahead, and the UK’s colleges will undoubtedly be a key piece of the puzzle.”
 

British Chambers of Commerce, Head of People Policy, Jane Gratton said:
 

“To remain competitive in a global business environment, employers will need to invest in upskilling and reskilling people at all levels in the workforce. Business communities will want to see greater priority from the government on further education, digital and technical skills and creating a skills system that is more agile and responsive to their training needs. Colleges are key to boosting skills levels in local business communities across the country.”
 

Performance of Blank at The Egg

News

Association of Colleges commends Bath College and Theatre Royal’s Theatre Academy with Beacon Standard

 
Bath College staff are delighted to have been informed by the Association of Colleges that their Performing and Production Arts Provision has met Beacon Standard for practical delivery of technical and professional learning. Bath College are therefore recognised as a Beacon Award commended college for this provision.
 
In August 2017, Bath College launched an exciting new partnership with Theatre Royal Bath and formed Bath Theatre Academy, offering full-time Level 3 UAL Performing and Production Arts course, a unique curriculum that combines a practical theatre programme with real-life industry experience.
 
Jon Domaille, Head of Creative Arts and Enterprise at Bath College commented, “to be recognised in this way is testament to the hard work and dedication of our learners as well as the exceptional and committed staff from both institutions.
 
“With theatre as my background and passion, I am blown away by the overall experience and opportunities our learners get, the industry contacts that they can build and the level of work that they are producing as a direct result of this partnership.
 
“I’m incredibly proud of the platform that this provision provides for theatre makers of the future.”
 
Throughout the Performing and Production Arts course, students get to work with industry professionals and put on performances at the egg theatre. The egg is a driving force of creativity, innovation and young people’s art at the heart of Theatre Royal Bath. It presents around 50 different and bespoke young people’s productions every year, operates a rigorous Creative Learning and Theatre School Department, and has pioneered an ideas-led Artist Development programme, each between them amassing 50,000+ admissions per year, and a number of unique new productions for the children’s theatre touring network.
 
Through its activity it has developed strong international relationships, this year alone partnering with companies from France, Spain and Australia. Since creating this fruitful partnership with Bath College less than two years ago, the egg has plugged a gap in its provision by creating a bridge between children’s participation and talent development for the theatre industry.
 
Kate Cross, Director of the egg and Chair of TYA UK commented: “At a time when creative subjects in educational settings are being compromised from all sides, Bath College’s championing of young people’s talent development through the Level 3 UAL Performing and Production Arts course is laudable.
 
“We feel privileged to be playing a part in ensuring that young adults from a range of backgrounds are given a significant insight into the theatre industry and a guiding hand for their chosen route into it.
 
“We were lucky to have, in James Moore, Head of Creative Learning at the egg, an experienced Secondary School Drama teacher and someone who was able to swiftly navigate their way through the syllabus and adapt it for this industry-based qualification, that has, still in its infancy, gained this acknowledgement.”
 
Applications are now open for September 2019, for more information about the Bath Theatre Academy and course, click here or contact James.Moore@theatreroyal.org.uk
 

Love our colleges poster

News

Bath College supports campaign to increase college funding

 

Bath College, together with many other FE Colleges across England fully supports the #loveourcolleges campaign during Colleges Week 2018.
 

Colleges Week, which takes place from Monday 15 October to Friday 19 October 2018 and is part of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign, is an opportunity to highlight the brilliant work that goes on nationally and locally at Bath College, and the brilliant staff that make it all possible.
 

Colleges Week is our opportunity to call on government for better investment in colleges, and fair pay for college staff.
 

Bath College is a vital part of the Bath & North East Somerset area, supporting over 11,000 students to learn, train and develop confidence and employability skills.
 

We believe Further education colleges are an essential part of England’s education system. Colleges and college staff transform lives – they help people make the most of their talents and ambitions and drive social mobility; they help businesses improve productivity and drive economic growth; they are rooted in and committed to their communities and drive tolerance and well-being. They are an essential part of England’s education system – educating and training 2.2 million people every year.
 

Over the last decade, colleges have had to deal with an average 30% funding cut, whilst costs have increased dramatically. This has resulted in a drastic drop in learning opportunities for adults, fewer hours of teaching and support for young people, and teacher pay at less than 80% of schools and support staff seeing no increase in pay for several years. This situation is not sustainable and ultimately impacts upon students, businesses, communities and the wider economy.
 

Whether it’s through top-class technical education, basic skills or lifelong learning, colleges like Bath College help people of all ages and backgrounds to make the most of their talents and ambitions. Mostly rooted in local communities, Colleges are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies.
 

However, there is currently a reduction in education funding once a student turns 16 – whether they are in a school sixth form or a college. ‘Love Our Colleges’ is calling on government to increase 16-19 funding by 5% a year for 5 years.
 

It is also asking Department for Education to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.
 

This College matters – to our students, our staff and our local community. But for too long the vital work we do has been overlooked and underfunded.
 

Laurel Penrose, Principal & CEO of Bath CollegeLaurel Penrose, Principal at Bath College, said: “Our young people are being short-changed compared with their counterparts in other countries and compared with previous generations. The hours of teaching and support, the choice they have and the enrichment they are offered have all reduced as funding cuts have bitten. This cannot continue if we are to secure the future of our nation.
 

“Bath College is at the heart of the community here in Bath & North East Somerset and unfortunately the lack of Government funding restricts the resources we are able to support our students with which in turn restricts the local economy as we are central to the technological skill development in the local region. We also believe we have excellent staff who, again due to the lack of funding, aren’t fully appreciated.
 

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like Bath College provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people.
 

Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”
 

The ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a partnership between Association of Colleges (AoC), National Union of Students (NUS), Association of College and School Leaders (ASCL), University and Colleges Union (UCU), Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union (NEU).
 

Your Wishlist