How can we address the teaching staff shortage in further education?

Further Education (FE) colleges are currently struggling with staffing issues. Ensuring FE colleges can recruit, train, and retain high-quality teaching staff is critical to helping the next generations succeed in their careers.  

In response to this growing issue, Policy Connect held an event in Parliament with the APPG for Skills, Careers and Employment on the workforce shortage in further education on 6th June. We discussed what can be done to bring a new generation of teachers into FE. 
We were fortunate to get to hear from a great group of voices – Shadow Skills Minister Toby Perkins MP, former Skills Minister Rt Hon Sir John Hayes MP, Beatrice Barleon from EngineeringUK, Simon Cook from MidKent College, and Ben Verinder from Chalkstream. 

Key Takeaways 

  • The ongoing wage issue is the most prevalent factor in staffing difficulties. Wages offered to lecturers fall short of industry standards, causing current staff to leave the education sector and potential staff to remain in industry roles. 

  • Currently, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) find it challenging to engage with colleges because they lack the capacity to spend on training staff to overlook work experience programs.  

  • Ensuring that students have proper guidance when choosing their careers is vital. Schools must provide comprehensive information and support to help students make informed decisions. 

  • Parents also play a crucial role in these discussions, as they can offer valuable insights and support. They often emphasise higher education qualifications. 

  • Policy Connect has previously set out a long-term framework for skills and life-long learning policy, which can be accessed in the report England’s Skills Puzzle. 

  • Although the Department for Education has set out guidance for 16-19 study programs to include work experience, uptake is varied amongst different areas and regions. 

Following Up 

The discussion outcomes will be submitted to an Education Select Committee inquiry on recruiting and retaining teachers. In addition, the takeaways will feed into our upcoming work and events on career guidance and building a world-class skills system in the next parliament. 

If you would like further information, please get in touch with Alyson, Researcher for Education and Skills at 

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