b_aboutWelcome to the Association of Colleges South West (AoC SW) Website and Xtranet. AoC SW promotes and supports the interests of all further education (FE) colleges in the South West region.

This website is designed to enhance the support AoC SW provides to our member colleges. This innovative communication portal will allow members to seek information, share information, keep up to date on FE policy, circulars, training, conferences and access AoC/AoC SW briefings.b_news

AoC SW facilitates numerous networks on behalf of our members and each member of those networks will have access to a specific area of the Xtranet designed to support their role in college.

The public area of this site will enable interested parties to find out about FE in the region, keep up to date with new developments and activities and also make contact with AoC SW and its member colleges.

We are grateful to the South West Regional Development Agency for their sponsorship of this projectb_index_downloads


Further Education in the South West

There are 34 Further Education (FE) college corporations in the South West region who serve their local communities with a wide range of education and learning opportunities. AoC SW supports and promotes the interests of 26 general further education and tertiary colleges, 3 land-based colleges, 2 sixth form colleges and 1 specialist college of art and design and 1 specialist college for students with disabilities.

SW FE colleges’ annual turnover in 2004/5 was over £500 Million and this generates £740M of income for the region on the basis that every £1 spent on FE generates £1.43 of national income. Colleges directly employ over 17,000 people but generate a net impact of 21,000 jobs. The total investment in building and infrastructures is estimated to be have been over £200M in the period 2000 to 2005 (£120M directly from colleges). Most services, contractors and supplies are purchased locally.

FE colleges in the SW provide learning opportunities for over 500,000 students between 14 and 90! Qualifications range from basic skills to aerospace engineering, from floristry to applied maths, from equine science to fashion and textiles – there is something for everyone. In 2004 over 375,000 adults studied part time with an FE College. The majority of colleges in the South West now have CoVE (Centre of Vocational Excellence) status. In the OFSTED annual report 2004/5, a number of SW Colleges featured prominently being cited as some of the best in England.

FE colleges have to meet the needs of many different types of learner. They have a central role in meeting and supporting the skills needs of local industry and their workforce, whilst working closely with disadvantaged groups, and organisations such as the Foyer, voluntary service and prison service to build confidence and skills in adults, particularly those with numeracy and literacy needs. Colleges continue to work with schools in supporting vocational curriculum opportunities through link courses and specific projects.

Colleges play a key role in preparing young people (16-18) for both work and university with around 70,000 studying full time A Levels, GNVQs and 15,000 Modern Apprenticeships and NVQs through their local college.

Colleges also provide important routes and access into higher education with most colleges offering Higher National Certificates, Diplomas, Foundation Degrees and Degrees through partnership with SW universities. Over 11,000 students studied HE programmes in FE Colleges in 2004/5.