Events » Open Higher Education Markets in the UK: an Opportunity or Threat for Further Education Colleges?

Open Higher Education Markets in the UK: an Opportunity or Threat for Further Education Colleges?

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File size: 148.34MB
Duration: 1 hour 55 minutes

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The English government has introduced funding changes that, among other things, make it possible for further education colleges to access public funding for higher education programs. Up until recent years, further education colleges relied on universities to accredit and fund their higher programs. They are now less reliant on universities for funding and can compete with them for students, if they choose to do so.

In this seminar, leaders of the further education sector, John Widdowson and Amarjit Basi, will discuss the opportunities and threats that arise for further colleges in the new higher education market in England. Topics will include analysis of the broader policy environment, as well as challenges that arise for further education colleges seeking to expand their higher education provision in a much more competitive market.


John Widdowson CBE

Principal and Chief Executive, New College Durham





John Widdowson CBE joined New College Durham in August 1998, having previously worked as Vice Principal at Cambridge Regional College for ten years. Prior to entering Further Education, John worked as a lawyer in Local Government.

As Principal, John has worked to ensure that the College achieves and maintains the highest standards. At its last inspection by Ofsted, the College was assessed as “Outstanding”. It has been awarded Beacon College status by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service.

The College is lead sponsor for two Academy schools in County Durham.

In July 2011, the College became one of only two colleges so far to be granted the power to award Foundation Degrees.

Outside the College, John is Chair of the Mixed Economy Group which is made up of nearly forty colleges all of whom offer significant amounts of Higher Education. He is a Board Member of the Association of Colleges and has been a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) since 2009. He Chairs HEFCE’s Widening Participation and Student Opportunities Strategic Advisory Committee. He has contributed papers and spoken regularly at national and international conferences, focussing on the challenges of widening participation in higher education and developing college based higher education.

John was made a CBE in June 2010 for services to Further and Higher Education.


Amarjit Basi

Principal and Chief Executive, New College Nottingham.




Amarjit Basi became Principal and Chief Executive of New College Nottingham (ncn) in September 2011, where he has overseen a transformation to align the College's curriculum and services to support local and regional business priorities.

He previously held senior posts at Walsall College, Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College, The Oldham College and North Warwickshire & Hinckley College, each of which have attained outstanding status or equivalent.

ncn were the first UK FE College to open an international campus in India. New College Nottingham International Lifestyle Academy (NILA) was opened in the presence of Indian and UK Cabinet Ministers in Delhi, in January 2013.

Whilst at Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College, the College was awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade for its programmes for overseas learners, which expanded from 450 to 2000 learners.

Amarjit also led the creation of one of the first University Technical Colleges (UTCs) in the country. The Black Country UTC, supported by Siemens, opened in September 2011.
He has practised as an inspector, chief moderator and consultant on curriculum and quality matters for key national development and quality agencies over the past 20 years.

He is currently a Board member at Cogent, the sector skills council for Chemicals, Nuclear, Oil and Gas, Petroleum and Polymers.


Leesa Wheelahan (Chair)

Associate Professor, LH Martin Institute





Date and location

This event was held on 28 August 2013 at the LH Martin Institute, level 1, 715 Swanston Street, Carlton (Melbourne).

More information

If you would like to know more information about the event, please contact Connie Yuen or call +61 3 8344 0756.

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Held in conjunction with TAFE Directors Australia
Held in conjunction with TAFE Directors Australia