A LEADING college will be forced to reduce its intake by up to 1,500 adults and make redundancies next year as a result of funding cuts.
The government has just announced it will cut the adult education budget by 24 per cent in the 2015/16 academic year, meaning every college in the country will suffer.
Chichester College has joined forced with colleges across England in opposing the cuts, which it says will force it to reduce the current number of adult learners by around a quarter.
Chichester College principal Shelagh Legrave says the cuts will particularly hit youngsters aged 19 to 24, as well as adults who are unemployed and take up courses to train for a profession.
“We have always prided ourselves in being an inclusive college that can find the right course for any person who needs it,” Mrs Legrave said.
“But I have been principal here for five years now and in each of those years there have been cuts, and this year the huge cut will be in adult funding.”
The cuts involve young people, aged between 19 and 24, without the full level-two qualification – the equivalent to five GCSE grades of A* to C.
Many of these, Mrs Legrave says, are out of work before retraining through the college, but under the new measures an estimated 190,000 adult learning places will be lost across England, with 1,500 of those here in Chichester.
Mrs Legrave said: “Although loans are available for adult learners on certain qualifications, who are aged over 24, huge gaps are developing which will directly penalise those aged 19 to 24 and those who wish to study a qualification not eligible for a loan.
“Every year, 6,000 adults come to this college to upskill or retrain for a new job, whether it’s due to redundancy or wanting a change in career.
“We need to have enough funding if we want to continue our support of these people.”
The college expected around a 15 per cent cut in the budget and in anticipation of this has begun consulting over making redundancies with up to 50 jobs at risk.
Last year, Chichester College was awarded an outstanding Ofsted report in all areas, placing it in the top ten colleges in the country.
And last month it received another outstanding report for its residential provision.
The college has around 15,000 people studying at its two campuses each year and offers A-level courses as well as adult qualifications for a range of professions.