A workforce data collection “project” for the further education sector promised in the skills for jobs white paper will start this month, it has been announced.
In a letter to FE providers published today, apprenticeships and skills minister Gillian Keegan wrote the data collection will open on 12 July for eight weeks.
“I want to underline the importance of ensuring your organisation’s continued engagement in this vital project,” her letter reads.
The Skills for Jobs white paper set out in January the Department for Education’s plans to introduce a mandatory, comprehensive data collection on the FE workforce, the same as they do with schools and higher education.
This collection will include demographic and personal data such as on ethnicity and disability and will be in addition to existing collections from the sector, such as submissions of learner data.
The new data, the white paper said, “will enable us to plan better and understand the impact of our policies on diversity in further education staffing and leadership”.
This is after FE Week found fewer than seven per cent of college principals in 2019 were from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.
Philip Augar’s review of post-18 education recommended government should improve data collection for FE to improve college leadership and workforce management.
This was after its panel was struck “by the paucity of data available to the college sector compared to both higher education and schools”.
In her letter, Keegan stated she was “aware more will be asked of the sector as a result of our bold reforms,” though the white paper had promised the new collection would be co-designed to make it coherent with other data inputs.
“Your continued participation in this new collection is absolutely essential as it will ensure that the quality of the data describing the composition of the current FE workforce is as accurate as it can be,” Keegan wrote.
The data will be available to all participants in an anonymised format to “help you to compare and benchmark your institution against other relevant providers”.
She thanked providers for their contribution to “this vital work”.