New national report on UK colleges is welcomed by The Sheffield College

27th July 2020

A new national report is shining a light on the transformative role that colleges must play in the UK’s economic recovery.

Systemic change is needed to unlock the full potential of colleges to meet the challenges that the UK faces from the impact of Covid-19 to climate change, according to The Independent Commission on the College of the Future.

The Commission has launched its vision for the future of colleges across the UK in a new report published this week, which argues there is an urgent need to reaffirm the role that colleges play in the education and skills system.

Colleges, says the report, published on July 22nd 2020, can empower people with opportunities for lifelong learning and support, boost productivity and strengthen every community’s sense of place.

Commenting on the report, Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal, The Sheffield College, said: “Colleges are at the heart of their local communities, playing a vital role transforming lives through learning and providing skills to support employers and the regional economy.”

She added: “We welcome this report calling for the full potential of colleges to be unlocked for a skills led recovery and to meet long-term economic, social and environmental challenges, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s also great to see The Sheffield College acknowledged in the report.”

The Commission, which brings together experts from education, business and the trade unions, was set up in March 2019. Its remit has been to ask two questions – what does the UK need from colleges in 10 years’ time and what changes are needed in order to achieve this?

Events and workshops, involving individuals and organisations across the UK, have been held to feed into the process. The vision report highlights three key themes:

  • People - colleges will be a touchpoint for everyone throughout their lives as the world changes. Flexible and blended learning and guidance will empower each person to get a job, progress in their career and be an active citizen.
  • Productivity - colleges will provide strategic advice and support for employers to drive business change, innovation, and future workforce planning.
  • Place - colleges will have the resources and funding to play an even greater role in fostering healthy and connected communities.

The Commission will be setting out its recommendations in a final report, published this autumn, on how the UK can achieve this vision in the next decade as people and the labour market emerge from the pandemic.

For more information about the Commission’s report People, Productivity and Place: A New Vision for Colleges, click here. Follow @CollegeCom #CollegeoftheFuture

For more information about The Sheffield College, its work with employers and courses starting in September, visit or call 0114 2602600.

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