FUNDING of further education is key for the future of businesses.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership has marked National Colleges Week, which runs until Friday.

It is highlighting the crucial importance of funding for further education.

A key part of Selep’s role across East Sussex is to work with businesses and education providers to ensure a suitably skilled workforce is available to support economic growth throughout the area.

To mark National Colleges Week, a letter has been sent by the LEP to Chancellor Philip Hammond and Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton.

The letter highlights the LEP’s support for colleges and the need for continued funding of the FE sector.

Adam Bryan, managing director of Selep, said: “In our letter to ministers, we have made clear our growing concern at the national disinvestment in education and skills training for both 16 to 18-year-olds and adults.

“As our skills strategy sets out, further education participation and apprenticeship take up has declined.

“It is essential that we have a well-funded and effective skills system in place to train, upskill and retain adults and young people at a time when there is likely to be a need for much greater self-

sufficiency in UK skills.

“National Colleges Week is the perfect time to urge Government to with colleges and ourselves and other LEPs to address underfunding and to tackle challenges such as tutor shortages.

“This will help us deliver against the Government’s industrial strategy and achieve the very best for our communities and employers.”

Selep has supported colleges across the area.

Mr Bryan said: “Across our geography we have invested more than £40 million in more than 30 further education capital projects.

“Through our recently launched five-year skills strategy, we are developing proposals to tackle tutor shortages and exploring solutions such as virtual reality and online learning to respond to challenges.

“Selep is highly committed to our college network and is clear on their importance.”

As part of National Colleges Week, a petition calling on the government to urgently increase college funding to sustainable levels can be signed at

For more information on the work of Selep, visit