Further Education Funding — [Sir Roger Gale in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:35 am on 2nd April 2019.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Fisheries, Flooding and Water) 10:35 am, 2nd April 2019

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. The lack of funding has meant that City College Plymouth has been unable to keep up with many of the repairs on its old building, leading to leaking roofs. It has not been able to replace technology with what it needs and has moved to leasing technology. It now faces financial barriers in moving off leasing to get the latest technology it needs.

Funding has also had a huge impact on college staff, who have not been given a cost of living pay rise or any other pay rise this year. That is not because they are not brilliant—they are exceptional—but because there is simply no money in the coffers for the college to do that. In an economy where the skills FE college staff have are in high demand, that means we are losing talent and skills. In particular, the engineering staff can earn salaries of £10,000 more simply by leaving the college and the jobs they love, and that is not right.

We need colleges like City College Plymouth to be motoring. It is a forward-thinking college. It has just launched its fantastic marine autonomy course, which will equip our young people with the skills they need to work in Plymouth’s world-class marine autonomy sector. Importantly, it will retrain people who work on the more heavy engineering side of the marine industries in the updated skills they need to succeed in a much more integrated digital marine environment.