INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: MEMBER VIEWPOINT - Our technical colleges need fresh lifelines to maintain vital services

Graham Neil, MInstF is development director of CTC Birmingham

One of the most important educational experiments of the past 15 years has been the launch of technical colleges in cities. There are now eight colleges and academies that provide vocational and extramural education for those aged 14-19 who, without it, would more often than not be on the streets.

The City Technology College in Birmingham was the first in this scheme and has been an enormous success. This is particularly important where a large percentage of the children come from some of the poorest wards in the country. Only this month it came top of its area academic league table in GCSEs and 14th in the country. It also has some 64 pupils enrolled on the Duke of Edinburgh Awards schemes.

As a result of this success, further improved teaching facilities are desperately needed to expand and maintain the infrastructure of these new and important colleges, particularly where extra government funding no longer exists.

Over a number of years, almost all independent schools and University Colleges have employed development directors to run their fundraising operations. What is new now is the expansion of professionally trained fundraisers into the field of state education. This development, as the demand grows, is going to be a tough role for any fundraiser. Private sources of funding will not be available, and parents of state school pupils are not going to be in the same financial league as those paying fees at independent schools.

If however you are looking for a challenge, would like to help your local community to benefit from a better education, have initiative, energy and enthusiasm, and don't mind hard work, then look out for these vacancies.

I can assure you, of the many opportunities around, they are among the most rewarding.

- The Institute welcomes Viewpoint articles from its members. Please email the membership manager (Membership@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk).

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