This year we are proud to be celebrating our 25th year! The year has already got off to a fantastic start – our growth continuing with the introduction our new HE division and the expansion of our skills and training team. We’re working with more fantastic clients in education, skills and training than ever before, providing roles covering all subjects and specialisms, from lecturers and trainers, admin and HR to Principals and CEOs.

But as much as we’re looking forward to an exciting future, this blog is also about looking back to our roots – from the first ideas floating around in 1993 when colleges became ‘incoporated’ (i.e. free standing) with their own budgets, which were constantly being reduced by the government, to 1995 when Protocol was established in Nottingham.

Protocol’s CEO Ian Sackree reflects on Protocol’s history and the changes in the sector

“My reflection over 5.5 years is just how adaptive Protocol has been.

Unarguably, Further Education has experienced some of the most significant changes in its structure since the sector was established in 1993 as a disincorporation from Local Authorities.

In the last 5 years we have seen numerous Governments introduce:

  • Study Programmes
  • Mandatory Work Experience
  • Area Based Review
  • Mass mergers
  • Corporate failure
  • The Insolvency Act
  • Changes in Funding Agencies
  • English and Maths as a condition of funding
  • The creation of the Office for Students
  • The increasing power of the FE Commissioner
  • Complete Apprenticeship reforms
  • An overhaul (ongoing) of our qualifications system.

This is to name but a few changes! In this time the only thing that hasn’t changed (well not for the better) is the funding rate for 16-18 learners!

During this time, recruitment patterns have shifted; cash available to colleges for sessional staff has decreased significantly, skilled lecturers capable of delivering today’s curriculum have become in much shorter supply and professional support staff able to thrive in today’s challenging and complex environment are on the decline.

Through all of this, Protocol has adapted and reinvented itself to be the leading FE recruiter of choice. It’s shifted from a world where, once upon a time, colleges sourced up to 80% of its sessional staff base. In today’s world, we must use all of our imagination, technology and skill to source up to 80% of the skilled people required, ensuring that we continue to innovate the processes needed to comply with Agency Workers Regulations and maintain that our valuable sessional workforce is correctly administrated and properly supported.

In short, we have seamlessly adapted our business, and continue to do so to meet the ever-changing needs of an FE sector at its most challenging.”

As we head into our 25th year, we look forward to working with more fantastic clients, placing more great candidates into their dream jobs and of course continuing to develop a fun and friendly culture for our own teams.

Keep an eye on the website and our social media for more updates throughout the year as we celebrate 25 years of placing people first.


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