On 16 April, CoS UK hosted a Facilitated Conversation on Further Education in England. The webinar came out of discussions at the College Resource Pack launch event on 2 February which highlighted the complexities of accessing FE financing in England for students from a background of asylum seeking.
Around 25 attendees participated in the Zoom event. The programme included Steve Hewitt of NACRO, who is a trustee of the Ruth Hayman Trust, a charity which awards small grants to support the education and training of adults who have come to settle in the UK, speak English as a second or other language and have difficulty paying for their studies. The majority of recipients of funding from the Trust are people who are seeking sanctuary in the UK. Qurat and Itma, two students from a background of seeking sanctuary joined Steve as part of the panel to share from their lived experience.
Sara Trewhitt of CoS UK opened the event with a welcome and short overview of College of CoS UK stream. Steve Hewitt presented on overview of the key guidance documents outlining eligibility for funding. His presentation is available here: Funding for Asylum Seekers in FE Colleges. Qurat shared from her personal experience of trying to access FE College courses and the challenges she faced along the way. Itma expressed how lack of knowledge about what was available to her hindered her ability to sign up to courses and gain skills and qualifications. While both students are now successfully enrolled in courses currently, they experienced delays and frustrations to their attempt to access opportunities at FE Colleges. The aim of this event was to help FE Colleges understand some the guidance documents, and hopefully lessen the likelihood that other students experience the challenges experiences by Itma and Qurat.
The full recording of the event is available here. To sign up to the FE Colleges mailing list to learn more upcoming webinars and events, please visit here. You can follow the work of Ruth Hayman Trust on Twitter @ruthhaymantrust.
We are grateful to all the speakers & attendees for sharing so generously of their expertise and time on this important topic.