Solihull College has joined forces with colleges across the country to protest against cuts to adult education funding. The Government has announced it will cut the adult education budget by 24% in the 2015/16 academic year, which may lead to the loss of over 190,000 adult learning places next year alone across the country.
For the College this could be as many as 1200 places, a reduction of 24 percent, affecting the number of adults in the area who can get training and education. John Callaghan, Principal and Chief Executive of Solihull College, comments: “This announcement by the government will not only deal a significant blow to colleges and adult learners from September, but upon business when it comes to skills and required knowledge needed from employers. At a time when education is trying to bridge the skills deficit among young people, in addition to encouraging adults to retrain, many of whom might be unemployed, this announcement will send out negative and damaging signals for our local and wider economy”?.
The College has joined forces with the Association of Colleges (AoC), a membership organisation for further education and sixth form colleges, to campaign against the cuts.
Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “We’re living in an ever-changing society in which people do not keep to the same career path for their whole lives. These people need the options of returning to education or undertaking training.
“Adult education and training is effectively being decimated. It is too important to be lost and these cuts could mean an end to the vital courses that train people such as nurses and social care workers.”
As part of its manifesto to the post-election Government, AoC is calling for greater equality in the education system by introducing education accounts for all students aged 19 and over. The Government, individuals and employers could contribute to these accounts to ensure that all adult students, whether studying at university or college, have equivalent access to loans and grants.
Further education colleges in England have a reputation for providing high-quality technical and professional education and training for students aged 19 and over. Courses available include basic skills qualifications right through to Level 6 (degree level), including GCSEs and A Levels. Courses range from Construction and Engineering to History and English. Currently 230,000 unemployed people undertake education and training in colleges. Funding for adult learning courses is provided by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) via the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
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