Motherwell College confirms cuts to vocational courses

LAST month it was praised by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, but now Motherwell College admits it can no longer afford its vocational training scheme for school children.

This comes after the Scottish Funding Council announced cuts of over 10 per cent for all colleges for the 2011/12 educational year.

As a result while it will still offer vocation training for S4 pupils the College believes it needs the money currently used to provide automotive engineering and hairdressing courses to S3 for its core subjects.

A College spokesman said: “Motherwell College continues to support all of the current students including those moving into fourth year at school and are currently working closely with the local authorities and North Lanarkshire Colleges to plan future provision in line with Curriculum for Excellence developments.”

A similar scenario is being felt at Cumbernauld and Coatbridge College with North Lanarkshire Council hinting they may look at a way of sponsoring the initiative.

A NLC spokesman said: “It is hoped that an agreement can be finalised soon to enable schools to plan timetables for the next academic year.”

Motherwell West councillor Michael Ross was approached about the matter by parents of current S2 pupils at Our Lady’s High in Motherwell and he too hopes the courses can continue.

He said: “These courses are an excellent way for S3 pupils to learn skills they may wish to take forward into their working lives.

“If they can no longer be offered at the college itself then maybe the courses could be moved to schools where visiting lecturers coming in to take classes.”

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith MP will write to ministerial colleagues to make them aware of the situation.

Full story in March 24 edition of Times & Speaker