TES is reporting that new figures are showing a reduction in 300,000 learners from 2013-14 to 2014-15.
Statistics from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis) show that, between 2013-14 and 2014-15, overall participation among learners aged 19 and above in FE fell by 315,900, despite a 1.3 per cent increase in the number of adult apprentices.
The University and College Union (UCU) has urged the government to invest more in a full range of education provision to address skills shortages. Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, said that the increase in adult apprenticeships was “a drop in the ocean”, and that without investment “thousands more will miss out on important opportunities”.
“These figures are extremely worrying, and highlight the damage which years of funding cuts have done to further education. The government’s vaunted expansion in apprenticeships is a drop in the ocean compared to the huge falls elsewhere,” Ms Hunt said.
“Ministers need to widen their focus and ensure proper support for different kinds of learning. Without more investment in a full range of education, this downward trend in participation is likely to continue, and thousands more will miss out on important opportunities to improve their skills and life chances.”
How do you feel the reduction in learners will impact education? What can be done to encourage adult learners to take up FE courses? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter.
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