New funds will be ‘massive boost’ to squeezed further education sector, says Easton and Otley College principal

Easton and Otley College principal David Henley with a copy of the college’s annual review that was

Easton and Otley College principal David Henley with a copy of the colleges annual review that was launched around a month ago. - Credit: Archant

The principal of a regional land college said he was looking forward to a recently-announced boost in government funding 'after two decades of funding squeezes that our sector has taken in stoic silence'.

Easton and Otley College principal David Henley with Anna Hill from Farming Today – she recently hos

Easton and Otley College principal David Henley with Anna Hill from Farming Today she recently hosted an event at the college's Norfolk campus which discussed issues around Brexit. - Credit: Archant

David Henley, of Easton and Otley College, said the extra funds, announced by chancellor Philip Hammond in his last budget, would be a 'massive boost' for his sector.

'He has allocated some significant extra funds to the tune of £500m to support further education nationally. This is a massive boost for us as it very clearly recognises the work colleges do in supplying the skills the country needs for its economic development and prosperity going forward,' he said.

The college would need to 'lead from the front' following the Brexit vote in providing for the future needs of the land sector, but it had laid firm foundations for future growth, he said.

'What excites me is how we are going to adapt and play our full part in helping young people become the workforce of the future. In a changing environment post the referendum, we will have to lead from the front in teaching new disciplines so that future generations are well prepared to produce food and care for the environment.'

Easton and Otley College principal David Henley with Matt Baker from Countryfile. Countryfile came t

Easton and Otley College principal David Henley with Matt Baker from Countryfile. Countryfile came to the college to film a segment on countryside management back in January 2016. - Credit: Archant


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The college was developing an innovative higher education programme featuring courses such as crime, terrorism and global security in response to this, he said.

Mr Henley, who marked two years in the role this week (April 20), revealed that he had received some 'excellent' feedback from governors in his latest appraisal for the work he has done since taking up the post.

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'This was nice to hear. But it's not personal praise that I'm after. I want praise for the organisation as a whole and the work that it does in helping train students that will leave us and go and make a positive difference in the future, with the industries that we so passionately support,' he said. 'This region is a great place to live and a wonderful place to work. I've loved meeting the people, developing relationships with stakeholders and getting to know staff and students. All of this has enabled me to get a real understanding of how the organisation ticks.'

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