The paper draws on the Wolf (2015) report (Heading for the Precipice: Can Further and Higher Education Funding Policies Be Sustained?) and other quantitative data, specifically that derived from HEFCE’s Participation of Local Area (POLAR) classifications. In addition it explores key literature and debates that associate higher education in further education (HE in FE) with the pursuit of social justice. This enables an interrogation of conceptualisations of vocationalism as well as a consideration of its articulation with class and gender. Whilst the paper is set within a particular and English socio-economic context, it addresses issues that have a much broader global significance. The paper argues that whilst HE in FE has limited traction in facilitating social mobility it does serve as a resource in the struggle for social justice.