Further cuts will reduce chances to learn

20 July 2015

Responding to the in-year cuts announced today, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:


“The 3.9% cut to non-Apprenticeship Adult Skills Budget (ASB) comes after multi-year cuts which have greatly reduced chances for people to learn. The cuts are also the first of potentially three to FE colleges, with 16-19 and higher education still unclear. These further cuts come on the same day as the NAO report which set out the very real financial challenges colleges are facing, and of course this only increases the pressure.


“Once again the priority of apprenticeships is clear. There is no doubt that apprenticeships have an important role in addressing the combination of skills shortages, skills gaps and low productivity that are threatening the future prospects for sustained economic growth. They will also provide many people with a solid start to the next stage in their career. But they are not the complete answer to every challenge facing the economy.


“For many adults already in work, an apprenticeship will either be unavailable, nor appropriate for the current stage of their career. The number of chances for them to improve their skills will shrink even further, on top of the million lost opportunities for adults over the past 5 years. This will undoubtedly mean that people with low skills levels are most likely to miss out. People on low pay will fail to get the support they need to progress in work.


“The further cut to the ASB, in the form of £45m taken out of ESOL funding is extremely disappointing, given that it will hit people who are working hard to gain the language skills they need to participate in work and in our society. It seems ironic, that this budget was to support unemployed people, a major priority for this Government.”