Dave Phoenix

LSBU’s response to the Skills for Jobs White Paper

Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Phoenix, speaks on the key role LSBU has in expanding technical education
21 January 2021

Following the publication of the government's Skills for Jobs White Paper, Professor David Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of LSBU, said: “It is important that we continue to expand technical education, especially at Levels 4 and 5, and there is a key role for institutions that have appropriate scale, infrastructure and employer links to engage in this work.

“It therefore pleasing to see a more integrated approach to post-16 funding but the government needs to go further by looking at extending maintenance loans to part-time learners of these qualifications and those at colleges. It would cost around £30 million and would help thousands more students graduate with high-level technical qualifications which are so important to businesses.

“The government is right to identify the important role of employers in developing employer-informed courses, but these are not training courses. If they are to be employer-led there should be discussion of how employers make a greater contribution to the overall costs. New ranges of shorter courses must be based on strong educational principles not just skills.

“In promoting technical qualifications, we must not forget the importance of the pipeline, where students develop their knowledge and skills, and fail to support community colleges and adult education. This could have the unintended consequence of further undermining this crucial area of education and build-up challenges for the future. To this end the government must ensure their new offer to provide free Level 3 courses for adults enables learners to achieve a ‘full’ Level 3 qualification, rather than a half measure.”

Maintenance loans for all Level 4 students:

  • Currently Level 4 students in universities are able to access maintenance loans.
  • But students on HNC (Higher National Certificate) and HND (Higher National Diploma) part-time courses are not able to access maintenance loans.
  • 3,815 students were enrolled in HNC (Higher National Certificate) and HND (Higher National Diploma) part-time programmes at English HE providers in 2018/19.
  • To provide maintenance loans to the 3,815 HNC and HND students would cost approximately £15 million per year. To double the number of part-time students would cost £30 million.
  • Most maintenance loans are available up to a maximum of £3,874 for part-time students in 2020/21.

LSBU Group (comprising 5 further, higher and secondary education institutions) is building the first new technical college of its kind in a generation. In 2022/3 Vauxhall Technical College will open in south London as part of the ground-breaking LSBU Group.