Association of Colleges (AoC) is a not-for-profit organisation, first established in 1996.
AoC is the national voice for colleges and exists to promote and support their interests.
As such, we aim to be the authoritative voice of colleges – based on credible analysis, research, advocacy and consultation with colleges – and the first-choice destination for guidance, advice and services for members.
Today, AoC represents and promotes the interests of more than 250 further education, sixth form, tertiary and specialist colleges in England. We also work with colleges in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland through our partnerships with equivalent membership organisations in the Four Nations College Alliance. UK colleges work with countries across the globe to deliver education and training internationally and share good practice.
Our national office is in central London and we have regional offices in Chorley, Stoke Sub Hamdon and Wolverhampton. A proportion of our workforce is mobile enabling us to travel to our members throughout our regions, as needed.
AoC has several strands to its business that provides a range of support functions and services for our members.
To find out more about the different strands of AoC, simply click on the links on the menu below or scroll down this page to view all the information.
AoC is the national voice for colleges and exists to promote and support their interests. Everything AoC does is aimed at helping colleges deliver their purpose and to make an impact.
As your representative body, we will:
AoC's membership is made up of 93% of the further education and sixth form colleges in England.
Further education, sixth form, tertiary and specialist colleges across the UK are entitled to full AoC membership. We welcome enquiries about subscription from organisations who work in the further education sector or supply colleges. Current affiliate subscribers include accountancy companies, law firms, awarding bodies, local authorities and universities. Affiliate subscribers benefit from AoC’s market intelligence, excellent national networking opportunities and special conference rates.
Full membership of AoC is open to colleges incorporated under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 or the Education Reform Act 1988; or colleges created by either the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills or by the Secretary of State for Education. Full details of our member services are available in our brochure.
Watch this interview with our Chief Executive about the brilliant and vital work of England’s colleges.
Colleges matter – to their students, their staff and their local communities. But for too long the vital work they do to support people of all ages and backgrounds has been overlooked and underfunded. Rooted in local communities, they are crucial in driving social mobility and providing the skills to boost local and regional economies. That is why trade unions, students and colleges are coming together to call for better funding and fair pay for further education colleges.
The Love Our Colleges campaign is an opportunity to highlight the brilliant work that goes on in colleges, and the brilliant staff that make it all possible. It is also our opportunity to call on the government for better investment in colleges, and fair pay for college staff.
To find out more about the #LoveOurColleges campaign and Colleges Week, by clicking here.
Association of Colleges’ Annual Conference is the biggest and best event in further education, and it’s back. It is your chance to hear from the biggest names in further education, politics and business to inspire you, to challenge you and to help you improve practice in your college.
This conference will be a little different to previous ones – we are going online, and we are opening it up to everybody. This gives you the opportunity to get as many of your staff involved as you’d like. We aren’t charging per delegate this year, we’re offering a licence per member college for your staff – whether joining for one session relevant to their subject area, or attending the whole two days.
This new flexible approach means AoC Annual Conference will be the biggest CPD event in the sector.
AoC Services is an integral part of AoC, providing a range of development and resourcing services for the FE sector. We work closely with colleges to provide the highest quality and most cost-effective solutions for their needs.
With over 20 years of experience within FE, our understanding of colleges’ needs and the broader sector challenges and opportunities are second to none.
As the established and trusted authority within the sector, we are able to attract the most important voices in further education to engage and challenge thinking at our events and training workshops. View our upcoming events and workshops below to see how we can support you.
Our AoC Executive Recruitment Team works with colleges from every part of the country to successfully identify, evaluate and place senior figures in key management and leadership positions. Our understanding of the demands of senior college positions is informed by years of professional experience. We pride ourselves on being able to successfully identify great future leaders.
Our Interim Management Service prevents short-term staffing gaps from becoming long-term problems, the Association of Colleges has a vast professional network of high-calibre interim managers on hand to help our members in their hour of need. Our unique position in the sector means we understand the variety of challenges, policy changes and budget issues you’re facing. That knowledge, combined with our professional contacts, ensures we are able to identify individuals who can deliver an immediate positive impact to your college.
The service provides qualified interim managers across all areas including:
Make change easier
Implementing critical changes in an organisation can be daunting and lonely. Even when you know those changes will ultimately benefit everyone, the process of change itself can be difficult both for staff and students. When you work with our AoC Consultancy Team, we use our extensive experience to make sure your decisions are more informed, and your experience smooth and straightforward.
How can the Association of Colleges help?
We start by understanding the changes you are trying to make, and the challenges you need to overcome. Once we’re clear about your direction, we will put together a carefully selected team of experts to help you get there. They will have first-hand knowledge of relevant policy areas and helped other organisations successfully overcome challenges similar to your own. They will work with you to create a detailed plan and provide support throughout the implementation process.
Our team exists to ensure that your college can continue to flourish and develop, whatever you need.
Our services include:
AoC Jobs is the dedicated FE job board for colleges. AoC Jobs has become the “go-to” for those looking for the next step in their career, with thousands of candidates visiting the site each month.
For colleges, it’s both an easy and cost-effective way to attract high-quality candidates to your organisation.
AoC Sport is the lead organisation for college sport and physical activity. Offering a range of specialist advice, training and events, they champion a whole-organisation, cross-curricular approach to sport and physical activity, which results in improved educational outcomes, employability and student health.
AoC Sport was formed following the merger of British Colleges Sport (BCS), the English Colleges Football Association (ECFA) and the Association of Colleges (AoC) sport policy team in August 2014.
AoC Sport’s vision is for ‘every college student to participate regularly in sport or physical activity’. They believe that sport and physical activity are essential components of college life, giving students significant advantages in education, employment and health. Their purpose is to promote, support and deliver high-quality Colleges sport and physical activity.
The AoC Charitable Trust administers two UK-wide annual award schemes. Supported by education and industry sponsorship, the Beacon Awards recognise outstanding college provision (institutional excellence). Our Gold Awards recognise college alumni who have made a major contribution to their field (individual excellence).
The AoC Charitable Trust’s primary purpose is to raise funds and oversee their application for the benefit of post-16 education and its vision is to have great colleges transforming lives and communities. The Trustees are appointed from the Association of Colleges’ Main Board, AoC's executive officers and independent representatives. Trustees appointed from the AoC’s Board include the Chair, the Chief Executive and the Director of Finance; executive officers include the Trust’s Director. Independent representatives are appointed for their knowledge, experience and status in the sector. All appointments require the approval of the Trustees. An informal induction process is carried out. As a minimum, the Trustees meet on a termly basis, although additional meetings are held if required.
The Trust has oversight for a range of awards that’s celebrate best practice in further education and more. Information can be found by following the specific links on this website; this includes the Beacon Award, Student of the Year Award and Gold Awards.