It’s time to think globally

A COLLEGE vice principal has called for more investment in education to keep up Hartlepool’s record of providing high quality training.

Darren Hankey, the vice principal of Hartlepool College of Further Education, spoke out to give support to the NEvolution campaign.

Part of NEvolution’s aim is to persuade Whitehall to devolve power to the region in skills, as well as transport and funding. It aims to act on the report to the Coalition Government by Lord Heseltine who recognised the vital importance of education in the development of local economies.

Key to Lord Heseltine’s proposals is the need to arm the next generation with the right skills, knowledge and attitude for future workplaces.

Mr Hankey said: “Hartlepool College has a long and well established track record of providing high quality skills education and training to support the needs of organisations in Hartlepool, Tees Valley, County Durham and beyond.”

He said the college was one of the leading providers of apprenticeships in the region and politicians want British organisations to operate in a global economy. “If we are to be successful in this market place, high level skills are needed,” said Mr Hankey.

To achieve that, though, investment was needed in the UK education and skills sector, said Mr Hankey. But he added: “By the end of the coalition government’s first term in office, spending on skills education and training will have reduced by 25 per cent since 2010.

“Budgets are allocated on a year-on-year basis often with complex changes in funding methodology - while this can be prudent in terms of monitoring government coffers, it adds uncertainty into colleges’ budgets and this hinders planning.

“In the early part of the coalition government, noises were made in terms of providing colleges and other providers of skills education and training with budgets over three years. This type of stability would help colleges plan more effectively and ensure skills education and training meet organisations’ needs.”

NEvolution makes the case for economic investment in the North-East. Campaigners hope the campaign will help shape announcements made in the Chancellor’s Spending Review, on June 26.