Further Education (FE) should be prioritised by the Government to ‘achieve levelling up’, according to a new YouGov survey of 1,712 UK adults, commissioned by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF).
Overall, four in 10 UK adults (40 per cent) said further education should be prioritised for achieving levelling up, when asked to select their top three. This was followed by investment in transport (33 per cent ), and work-based training and continual professional development (32 per cent ).
In contrast, just 15 per cent of the public said that higher education was a top three priority, with the same number indicating that early years education was important for levelling up.
Education and Training Foundation CEO David Russell, said:
“These ETF survey findings show the value to the Government in making further education and training the centrepiece of its flagship levelling up policy. Traditionally, universities have been given top billing by policy-makers, but overwhelmingly the public believe that FE is the route to delivering economic growth and fairness.
“To have a top class FE system we need top class teachers and trainers. We now have a fantastic opportunity to put recruitment and retention of FE staff at the heart of our national agenda. The pandemic highlighted how much we all depend on the skills people gain in FE to make this country work; and the FE system in turn depends on recruiting, training and fairly rewarding excellent people to teach those skills.”
Further education was also a key priority among the public for enabling a ‘high-skilled, high pay economy’. Overall, half of respondents (50 per cent) said that further education should be prioritised, followed by work-based training and CPD (43 per cent), and investment in science and technology (33 per cent), when asked to select their top three.
The ETF survey findings come ahead of the Government’s impending white paper on its levelling up agenda, which is aimed at reducing economic and social inequalities between different parts of the country.