Furness College has joined forces with many other colleges nationwide to support the findings of a long-awaited report into post-18 education funding.

The college has welcomed the Augar Review, which concluded colleges urgently need more funding and recognition for the vital role they play.

The commission, set up by the Prime Minister to look at tuition fees, found there was a ‘powerful’ case for change in the FE sector.

It said £3billion in additional funding should flow to colleges and training providers each year and concluded that colleges, rather than universities, needed the most urgent attention.

Andrew Wren, principal and chief executive of Furness College in Barrow, said the final report clearly recognised the challenges faced by the further education sector.

He called on political leaders to implement its findings.

He said: “FE Colleges have been sidelined but now there is a growing appreciation of their unique role, value and potential.

"It is heartening to read in the report that the commission says further education holds the key to improving social mobility.

“We are united with other colleges in our view that more funding should be made available for FE students, both 16-19 and adults, to enable us to invest in education and skills which meet the needs of the workforce in South Cumbria.”

“We need to be giving students in this area the very best chances to succeed and reach their own goals."

Furness College is one of 161 colleges to support the review findings.

An open letter has been sent to the Chancellor and Secretary of State.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “This report acknowledges fully the key truth that our further education colleges play a vital role in performing these functions.

“Too often we have had in our country a bias towards higher education, but we need to recognise equally the opportunities in both.

“Our current student finance system is a fair and progressive one, but it is right to look at it again, to ensure it continues to work for our whole society.

“I am determined that every young person has the best opportunity to learn and succeed, regardless of their background or circumstance and this means improving not only the education on offer but access to it."

“I thank the panel for their work, we will now carefully look at their recommendations."