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Driving the economy: why FE is key

Could a strong further education system be the key to driving the economy?

In the final episode of this series, we welcome Alun Francis OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Oldham College and Deputy Chair of the Social Mobility Commission. Through the two positions he holds, Alun is able to provide both regional and national perspectives on social mobility – how we define it, how we measure it, and how we ensure it is realistic for all.

In this conversation, Alun explains the importance of creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds, and the benefits this will have for both local communities and the wider UK economy.

We look forward to your company as we conclude the first series of the Let’s Go Further podcast.

Who is Alun Francis?

Alun is the Principal and Chief Executive of Oldham College and was appointed in 2010.   During this time the college has been redeveloped with an investment of over £45m, with new facilities to support technical education from entry to degree level.  The college has developed a reputation for strong teaching and learning, and has won a number of prestigious awards for its Teaching for Distinction CPD programme and its provision for special needs learners.  It was nominated as FE College of the Year at the 2019 TES Awards and in 2020 for innovation around remote learning. Prior to joining the college Alun had a varied career in local government, regeneration and higher education.  He has a strong interest in the economics of what is now referred to as “levelling up” and sees FE colleges in general and Oldham College in particular as having a critical role to play in addressing this challenge.  He received an OBE for service to education in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List and in November 2021 Alun was appointed Deputy Chair of the Social Mobility Commission.


  • Visit the Social Mobility Commission website.
  • Download the transcript  for this episode here.

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Length: 27:06