Remove the funding handcuffs to see true potential of our college
With 30,000 students heading through its doors, Principal wants to do more to support city businesses
It’s a “sorry, can you say that again” moment: Audrey Cumberford, the highly-regarded Principal at Edinburgh College, has just told me something that caught me entirely unawares, so she patiently repeats it for me.
“Every year, when I get my core grant in aid from the Scottish Funding Council, I know it won’t even cover the college’s staff bill...”
It’s plain that the pressure on the public purse is enormous, but it is equally true that the need for skills and talent has never been higher on the agenda than it is right now - given the economic headwinds Scotland has faced through the pandemic lockdown, and through the soaring costs of doing business since then.
Bluntly put, a lack of people with skills is holding back our economic recovery. And the College is a key player in the skills development sector, right?
“Edinburgh College, and colleges in general, have a pivotal role to play supporting businesses and supporting the skills agenda. I absolutely believe that. But part of the challenge is that we need that role reflected much more in the way we are funded. At the moment, it isn’t really.”