This varied and provocative address exposed many of the key problems faced by FE Colleges throughout the UK today and challenged them to take responsibility for the current skills shortage that the country suffers from, especially in the STEM sector. In the current climate of budget cuts and fluctuating education policy, it would appear that colleges must learn to fend for themselves so as not to go under. We need to improve the current situation, in which major contracts won in the UK have the majority of their staff recruited from overseas, where the skill set is much larger. What is the solution to this?
Professor Medhat’s solution is the concept of the Intelligent College®, a new breed of college that can free itself from dependency on state funding and branch out into the private sector by becoming a diversifying organisation involved in business engagement and research. A college which succeeds in attracting investment through making itself unique and by talking to local, national and international employers and understanding what is necessary to satisfy their needs and to get local people into jobs. This college should be able to conduct research, engage with employers and embrace innovation while ensuring that the programmes it runs are exciting and relevant to the current demand.
It is through the New Engineering Foundation’s STEM Assured award and NEF Diamond programme that a college can guarantee itself a freedom from state funding constraints and dependency, and eventually achieve the label of “Intelligent College”.
We are happy to share with you a presentation delivered by Professor Medhat on the concept of the “Intelligent College”.