ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is warning the Chancellor that making further cuts to the Further Education budget will damage his long term economic plan, exacerbate the skills crisis and negatively impact on social mobility.
The FE sector plays a valuable role in offering people of all ages the chance to re-train or learn new skills. By pursuing a policy of ‘apprenticeship or university’ when it comes to post 16 year old education the government is going to enhance the skills crisis and damage social mobility by decreasing opportunities for people to get back into the skills system.
Anthony Walters, head of policy ACCA Western Europe, said: ‘The government has recently launched a green paper on higher education, but there is no mention at all about non-traditional routes to higher education – for example part time further education study.
‘In 2010 there were 267,000 part-time students, today there are 116,000. A large proportion of people in part-time education are older and are more likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is the career prospects of these groups of people that are most at risk by the government cutting funding for further education.
‘The Chancellor is taking a short term approach by cutting Further Education funding to meet his spending targets. This short-sighted approach will create a long term problem by reducing the ability of those less well-off to study and advance their careers.
‘In ACCA’s social mobility paper last year we talked about the need for the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) to produce a social mobility impact assessment. Low levels of social mobility means a less productive economy, we want to work with the government to ensure equal opportunity for all and the creation of a high skill high wage economy.
”Few jobs are for life anymore, people will be looking to attain new qualifications and skills throughout their careers and at all life stages. Making it harder for individuals to improve or learn new skills at any stage of their life is counter-productive to the creation of a long term economic plan.’