Hundreds of Southampton learners to be hit by new Government changes

Over 800 adult learners face fees of up to £4,000 to get the skills they need for work, warned local MP John Denham today.  The Conservative-led government has announced that from 2013/14 they will force adult learners aged 24 and above to take out loans of up to £4,000pa to cover their courses (A-level equivalent Level 3 and above), including apprenticeships. 

John Denham is calling on the Government to delay these plans until a proper assessment can be made on the effect this will have on colleges and learners.

Course fees are expected to rise dramatically as colleges look to recoup the money they lose from Government funding.

The Tories are undermining young people’s career and job prospects:

  • On the heels of the trebling of tuition fees and the scrapping of EMAs, the Tories are failing young people trying to develop their skills.
  • There is no doubt this will hurt many people in Southampton – for example in 2010/11, 830 over 24 year olds enrolled at Southampton City College.  They would all have been forced to pay for their courses if the government’s plans had been introduced earlier.
  • These changes could have a very real and damaging effect on social mobility and individuals’ career and job prospects.  Many of those taking these qualifications are people who may have missed out on these opportunities first time round and may come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • The policy will be set in stone this summer and introduced next March – at a time when economic growth is flatlining and public confidence at an all-time low.  It’s the worst possible environment to start a ‘big bang’ loans system with potential learners and reskillers worried about debt, family circumstances and unemployment.

John Denham MP for Southampton Itchen says:

It is another attack on aspiration and on young people trying to get on in their careers and education.  They have enough difficulties without the government putting even more obstacles in their path.

“We need a more skilled workforce so we can pay our way in the world, not put up barriers, as the Government is doing, for people trying to get on.

“In light of all the problems, I’m calling on the Government to think again and delay implementation of the scheme to carry out a proper appraisal of how it will operate and its likely effects on colleges and learners.”

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