Funding cuts will hit people and businesses

24th March 2015

Responding to today’s analysis from the Association of Colleges on the prospects for the future for adult education, David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said:

“This is a very useful analysis of the learning opportunities which are being lost to people and to the economy. Over 1 million opportunities have disappeared in funding cuts since 2010 and the AoC rightly sets out that more cuts means even fewer opportunities. 

“Our businesses face two big challenges – low productivity and skills shortages, particularly at intermediate levels. And with people facing up to working until a later pension age, we need more re-training, not less. The funding cuts will hit people who want to work hard to get on, will hit businesses who want to grow and will hamper economic growth.  The next Government will need to find new ways to fund learning and skills for people aged 19 and over because the cuts have gone too deep now.

“I have been saying for the last year that we are facing a skills crisis. The cuts to come lead me to the same conclusion as AoC – namely that we should all be telling young people to get their state-funded learning in as quickly as they can. Because once they hit 21 there won’t be any support left. That is not a great scenario for a society in which people are living longer and wanting to contribute to society and work longer too.”