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Welsh colleges welcome Darling’s £38m

Colleges in Wales have urged the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) to invest the £38m, which was singled out in yesterday’s Budget for Wales’ colleges, in catering for the soaring demand for post-16 education and training.

In his 2009 Budget, Chancellor Alistair Darling pledged 250 million this year and £400 million in 2010/11 for an additional 54,000 places in sixth forms and further education colleges, with consequential provisions for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

fforwm, which represents all 25 FE colleges and institutions in Wales, welcomed the UK Government’s commitment to investing in the sector, and said the move would aid recession-battling efforts.

Dr John Graystone, the chief executive of fforwm, said: "In Wales, further education colleges suffer under-investment compared to the rest of the UK, as reported in a WAG-commissioned independent review of further education. Indeed, WAG Ministers have themselves acknowledged that allocations to colleges in Wales have been tight and challenging over the last couple of years.

"An injection of £38 million into post-16 education and training in Wales could make a real difference to colleges and their learners, communities, companies and the workforce.

"fforwm very much hopes that the Welsh Assembly Government will use this money to build on the additional funding to colleges announced last week to ensure that it leads Wales out of recession by developing the skills of its people."

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