What are Further Education Colleges?Further education colleges (often abbreviated to FE) are described as education that occurs following compulsory post-16 secondary education, which is usually distinct from that offered in universities. Attending an FE college usually means to attain an intermediate or follow up qualification necessary to attend university or begin a specific career path.

There are more than 500 government funded further education colleges in the UK providing a whole range of different courses from those that do not need any specific GCSE grades such as Level 1 courses through to Apprenticeships, degrees and professional qualifications. Although most full time college courses are attended by 16-19 years old you will also find plenty of adults studying in colleges on a range of short part-time, professional or higher education courses.

FE colleges are a popular choice for students who believe they have possibly outgrown secondary schools but would still like to carry on with their A Levels. Attending colleges often gives students more independence and freedom to do as they wish, as they only have to attend college when they have lessons, unlike a secondary school where students are required to be there all day Monday to Friday and complete any coursework in school if they have no lessons.

Further education colleges in England provide high-quality technical and professional education and training for young people, adult and employers. They prepare over three million students per year with valuable skills for the workplace, helping to develop their career opportunities and strengthen the local and regional and national economy.

FE colleges work closely with employers to offer courses that relate to the local jobs market, so it can really help students develop skills and qualifications to make them more employable. FE colleges are friendly and diverse learning environments with students coming from different countries and from all different backgrounds with a whole range of abilities.

FE colleges can vary from each other; some are very large and run over several sites within a city, whilst others are small and based in the centre of a city or town.

There is an increasing demand for FE colleges with thousands of students shunning the UK’s traditional universities to take their degrees in colleges instead. The number of undergraduates in FE colleges rose 11.8% in 2 years up to 2012-13 while traditional universities suffered a drop. It is estimated that 115,000 students studying for their degree courses in FE colleges.

With the increasing number of students wanting to study within FE colleges its hard to see why the government has made cuts to the sectors resulting in an increase in the number of lectures leaving the profession.



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