From education to employment

Government Funding Closes Broad Street’s Learndirect

In general, the principle of “education, education, education” is espoused as the goal towards which the government is working. Sadly, this does not appear to be the case in Wokingham, where the last of the learning centres is about to close following the changes in government funding. This centre was the last remaining facility in Wokingham in a position to provide this service, following the closure of Montagu House in 2004.

At the time of the closure of Montagu House, many of the students making use of the services feared for the future of Further Education courses in the town, saying that they believed that some courses would be moved from the town in spite of assurances given at the time regarding the future security of the provision. It now appears that these fears were justified, as Bracknell and Wokingham College ““ the college providing the facility through which Learndirect is delivered on behalf of the Hampshire and Solent Learning Hub ““ can no longer continue to offer this service due to cuts in funding for the courses offered through Learndirect.

Not Financially Viable?

The college stress that this decision was taken due to the fact that. With reduced governmental contribution, the service was no longer “financially viable”. They promise to help the students currently enrolled to complete their courses by the time the centre closes. These courses include literacy, numeracy and IT, three of the six hundred courses available to students who for a cost of just £10 can study either at home, on line or in the local library.

The local MP for Wokingham, the Right Hon. John Redwood MP, has stated that he will look into the matter and see if it will be possible to persuade the college to alter their position. The staff and students involved, understandably distraught that their fears of the previous year have been realised, are also taking action, beginning a petition against the termination of the service. With the closure of the Learndirect centre in Bracknell due to take place this July, the provision of Further Education in the area is under severe threat.

Jethro Marsh

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