Sally Dicketts, group chief executive of Activate Learning, responds to today's Autumn Statement.
“The Chancellor has today announced that funding for further education colleges will be protected in cash terms.
“This comes as a huge relief for the sector, which was braced for further cuts to the adult skills budget and funding for 16-19 year olds.
“At the same time the Chancellor has announced that 19 year olds will be able to access further education loans. This will enable this age group to access training that will make a real impact on their future career and earning potential.
“As always, the devil will be in the detail, but on the face of today’s announcement it appears that the campaigning done by colleges up and down the country has paid off.
“The situation for many further education colleges is already extremely tough, with funding having reduced by 22 per cent over the last five years. Over the same period funding for schools and universities has grown.
“Colleges provide a vital service to the local community, developing the skilled workforce required to meet employment needs and drive growth.
“We need the government to recognise the value of this incredibly resourceful sector, and today’s announcement provides some signs that this is beginning.”