Amarjit Basi, Executive Member, Black FE Leadership Group

The Office for National Statistics (@ONS) recently reported that job vacancies in the UK have risen above 1 million for the first time since records began two decades ago, and nearly 250,000 above the pre-pandemic position.

Suddenly the rhetoric of the “fight for talent” has become a reality for government, policy-planners and businesses alike, with Further Education positively spotlighted, both as skills enabler and employer in its own right.

Alongside positioning “skills and training” front and centre within the Post-Pandemic Recovery, it also reinforces the fact that all parts of the UK will become increasingly ethnically diverse during the Post-Brexit era.

Research from the University of Leeds confirms that those areas that comprise a significant *Black population now, will become even more diverse, and those areas not presently, will increasingly become so. Black young people account for 20% of those aged 24 or under now; they will account for one in three of that age group by 2051. Closer to home, Black students currently account for 30% of all students in FE colleges, and this will only grow.

This provides a wonderful platform for the FE system to become indispensable in delivering the ‘building back better’ and ‘levelling up’ agendas. However, FE’s track-record in harnessing black talent across its own workforce, is dismal. Presently, only 19 of 234 College CEOs is black (8%). To reflect the national population (based on the 2011 Census), this should number 32 and to reflect the student population, this would be 70. The position is even more depressing if we consider Governance. Only 7 College Chairs are black (3%).

It was this very scenario that inspired the Black FE Leadership Group (BFELG) to initiate a “critical conversation” with the FE sector’s leading group of search and recruitment companies, AOC Services, FE Associates, Morgan Hunt, Peridot Partners and Protocol, almost a year ago.

Inspired and challenged by our 10 Point Plan, all partners have spent the last 12 months developing a collective commitment towards ensuring anti-racist recruitment practices are implemented across their activities as a matter of course. This has culminated in the publication of our ‘Joint Statement to support Anti-racist and diverse recruitment practices in the FE Sector’.

Whilst individual partners’ starting positions, understanding and confidence in engaging on our shared journey has been far from linear, our collective recognition for the need to elevate above historical mistrust, self-interest and diffusion of responsibility, has prevailed. We have openly challenged, exchanged experiences and grown together, moved by a shared resolve that FE must do more and better.

Our Joint Statement presents a set of progressive and clear commitments by the leading FE search companies, to their clients, candidates and the wider FE workforce, leadership and governance communities.

The next step for our collaborative partnership is the development of individual company action plans which will proactively address imbalances in diversity of leadership at all levels. New thinking and alliances are positively emerging as a result. For instance, BFELG has recently constituted a HR Directors Network, part of our affiliated organisation model, to bring together leading college practitioners to share and exchange practice focused on addressing the disparities in black staff at all levels.

The ‘elephant in the room’ remains the need for FE corporations and other system players to step up to the plate, as employers.

If FE doesn’t get its own house in order, how can it hope to credibly advise on, and respond to, the talent crisis facing UK plc?

Amarjit Basi, Executive Member, Black FE Leadership Group

*‘Black’ is an inclusive definition for people from ethnically diverse backgrounds who share a lived experience of the effects of racism.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page