Further education is a great challenge for HR profession

I was dismayed to read your feature on further education as it came over as negative and did not help the sector’s reputation (Personnel Today, 15 November).

One of the key figures you did not include in your article was that 95% of employers that use colleges are satisfied with the training they receive. Maybe more employers should work with the progressive colleges to see what we can offer.

In terms of HR careers, further education is a fantastic challenge for HR professionals who like to be involved in transformational organisational change in a complex and diverse college community.

However, HR in further education needs to be transformed. It needs high-quality HR professionals to join the sector to bring fresh ideas and lead the transformation.

It needs a strategic place on the board and needs to offer modern, progressive HR business practices to be integrated into the culture of the organisation.

HR needs to take a lead role in involving and consulting with staff and celebrate the positives, such as the commitment and dedication of staff in further education, which is second-to-none.

The job satisfaction is fantastic as we all play a part in transforming students’ lives and making a difference.

The government’s transformation agenda for further education is immense and will only be achieved by engaging with staff and pushing forward on effective HR strategies. Each college will be in charge of its own destiny and this provides an exciting challenge for HR professionals to operate at a strategic level in a changing environment.

Debbie Dear
Executive director of HR
Peterborough Regional College

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