I’m standing to fight for you within our national union. I want to see NUS fight for FE students and apprentices on the ground and in parliament, like I've done as VP at Bradford College. As your VP FE I will ensure that tackling climate change, fighting for better mental health provisions and tackling harassment all top the agenda. We need an inclusive curriculum that doesn’t shut anyone out because we should all have access to education. I will campaign for travel bursaries, better provisions and make sure you know what NUS are doing to fight for FE.
Nominated by: Tasneem Elmegri, Bradford College Students' Union; Dillon Stanley, South Eastern Regional College SU; Majid Shemsedin, The City Of Liverpool College Students' Union; Thomas Matthew, Exeter College Student Representative Committee; Najaha Nurani, Leicester College Students' Union; Claire Brookes, Nottingham College Students' Union; Nyasha Nyamandi, St Brendan's Sixth Form College Students' Union
Information requested but none provided by the deadline
My name is Salsabeel and I am the Vice President at Bradford College. I’m lucky to come from a college with enough funding to pay elected officers but I know that is not always the case. FE Unions are drastically underfunded and NUS has done little to support us in developing independent unions. As your VP FE I will fight for a voice for FE students on every campus across the UK.
There is no one size fits all approach to further education, from our courses to our students every FE provider is different and unique in its own way. NUS represents 4.5million FE learners but if you came to one of our conferences you would have no idea. I will make sure our events and conferences are centred around FE students.
With cuts to the sector students are deprived from accessing basic rights which significantly contributes to their academics. Frozen student loans since 2008 and its means-testing system in place meant that students are missing out. Students from working class backgrounds are often paying high costs to access post-16 Education, whilst Apprentices are still being paid less than the National minimum wage. Our students are facing a ‘poverty premium’ and it's time to put an end to it. I will campaign for FE maintenance loan and increased funding so that students have extra money in their pockets and worry less on getting by day-to-day activities.
Mental Health in young people is at an all time high, many of us are on waiting lists within the NHS that seem never ending. We need to do more to support FE students who are experiencing mental health problems. I will work with the Association of Colleges to make sure everyone is signed up to the Mental Health Charter. I will fight for more funding for specialist Mental health services and make sure that all students are supported when studying. I will also lobby FE institutions to ensure there is greater visibility of external services that can be utilised by further education students to receive specialist support.
Everyone should be entitled to an education and I agree that education should be accessible, government funded and life-long from ‘cradle to grave’. The FE sector has received nothing but governmental cuts year after year, whilst HE and schools are being rewarded. Resources are being stretched yet colleges still manage to maintain high success rates from students despite limited funding. Investing more in colleges can allow students to benefit from quality education, and funding provisions such as Student Premium , maintenance grants and EMA. More often students enrolled into Colleges are given a second chance to education, get a qualification and continue at university, apprenticeship or work. I will campaign for more funding and work closely with representative groups and existing campaigns such as Love Our Colleges, for the government to stop the cuts and invest more in FE.
Developing FE Student Unions.
I was lucky to have a union that paid its elected officers, however I know from talking to my friends and other FE officers that this is rarely the case, when elected I would ensure to campaign for better representation as I have seen done within NUS Scotland. I will create guides with the union development team to help the development student unions on at their colleges and sixth forms. This will include methods in improving student participation and wider community experience to structures of cultural competency care that can be implemented to provide specific and necessary support to all students.
The local council and government closing down Youth centres lead to the rise in youth violence. With nowhere to turn to not be ‘distracted’ young people have nowhere else to go other than the streets. I will campaign for better provisions allowing Colleges and SUs to develop social spaces on campus. We see lively SU spaces in HE institutions that students can freely go to, why can’t FE be the same. Providing a vital space to feel safe but also create a sense of belonging which is vital for student experience but also will have an impact on the wider community. It is in these spaces we will have challenging conversations and tackle the root causes of youth crime. But also provide the vital tools and skills to students who can argue for provisions to be provided for the wider youth community. Lobbying the government and local councils to have the difficult conversations around the realities of youth crime as it is not as black and white as one may believe.
Change is no longer a choice and we are simply not doing enough. I will campaign for FE institutions to divest from companies that have any involvement in fossil fuels and really strive to be carbon neutral. I will push for FE institutes to have greater scrutiny in their supply chains and ensure that there is an approach to sourcing more ethical resources. There needs to be an overhaul curriculum ensuring there is comprehensive education on climate change building greater awareness and nuance on the comprehensive nature of the topic. I will work with unions to support and empower students to be at the forefront of this change helping to put pressure on institutions to actualise real commitments to the issue.