Colleges warn of cuts in work-related courses

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Colleges have warned that work-related courses could face fee increases or be dropped due to what they say is a £30m shortfall in Government funding.

The Association of Colleges (AoC) said that bids for funds to help up to 70,000 new adult part-time learners had been turned down, and blamed the Government's focus on basic education as set out in its Skills Strategy.

The courses the AoC says are in danger include skills training run by colleges for employers that do not lead to level 2.

The Government announced in its Skills Strategy earlier this year that priorities for funding would be 16-18 year old provision, adult basic skills and a new adult entitlement to free tuition up to level 2.

Dr John Brennan, AoC Chief Executive, said: 'If the delivery of a basic qualification entitlement for adults requires the withdrawal of opportunities for non-priority groups, for example, training technicians in IT, construction or health, the Government’s Skills Strategy will have failed.'

However the Learning and Skills Council, which is responsible for funding post-16 education, said that colleges' budgets and the number of adult learners were increasing.

It dismissed the prediction of course cuts as 'speculation'.

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