From education to employment

College and adult learner numbers fall; government has increased investment by “48%”

FE colleges witnessed a 15.1% decline in learner numbers in the past year, according to new statistics published yesterday by the Learning and Skills Council.

Further, Adult and Community Learning programmes saw a 9.8% decrease in learners between 2004/5 and 2005/6.

The “Statistical First Release” was published yesterday morning and “incorporates data from Further Education (FE), Work Based Learning (WBL) for young people, and Adult and Community Learning in one place”.

Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, said: “This Government is determined to give people the skills they need for employability as was made clear in the Skills White Paper in 2003. If we are to rise to the proposals in the Leitch report we must continue to focus on delivering this strategy”.

“The dramatic increases in adult full Level 2 provision (GCSE equivalent) is good news for the economy and the country. The huge growth in adult full Level 3 learners, crucial to our competitiveness, is testament too to the fact that our strategy is working”.

“Despite the change in focus the overall volume of learning has been broadly maintained, refocusing of funding has given more adults the chance to gain employability skills and help us reach our interim target of 1 million adults achieving a first full Level 2″.

Other findings reveal that: the number of adults participating in further education [aged 19 and over] decreased by 16.9%; work-based learning numbers decreased by 4.9% during 2005/6.

Per subject area, the biggest loss between 2004/5 in work-based learning was in “Retail and Commercial Enterprise”: 96,100 learners in 2004, down to 86,200 in 2005 ““ a 10.3% decrease.

Biggest losses in FE between 2004/5 were in “Health Public, Services and Care”: 805,700 in 2004 to 646,600 in 2005 [19.7% decrease]; “Information and Communication Technology”: 727,500 in 2004 to 539,000 in 2005 [25.9% decrease], and “Leisure, Travel and Tourism”: 156,500 in 2004, to 121,700 in 2005 [22.2% decrease].

Mr Rammell added: “We now live in a learning society. This Government has increased investment in FE by a massive 48% in real terms since 1997. Our National Adult Learning Survey (NALS) shows that 80% of adults have participated in some form of learning over the last 3 years, up from 76% since 2002. We have double the numbers of learners over 60 than in 1997″.

“We are steadily increasing the number of adults gaining their first qualification in literacy and numeracy and apprenticeship completions are rising. This country can and will raise its productivity to compete”.

Read the statistics here.

Vijay Pattni.

Related FE News articles:

Listening to Learners ““ 27/11/06

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