12 July 2012
Commenting on today's (12 July) Ministerial statement on 24+ advanced learning loans, AoC Chief Executive Martin Doel said:
“We welcome the changes made to the FE loans proposals that we have been working on with Government and partners in response to the Government's own impact assessment – in particular the plans to write off loan debt for Access to HE students completing their HE degrees will be welcomed by colleges. Access courses provide an extremely useful route to higher education for those who want to progress but did not gain the qualifications they needed at school and are looking for a further chance through a College. Every year over 30,000 people enrol onto an Access to HE course – half of whom are aged 25 and over.
“The bursary scheme is also welcome as a necessity if we want to encourage the most vulnerable students to realise their potential. We hope that colleges will have the flexibility to use this funding to support students on particular courses, for example people training for work in the care sector – an ageing population demands an ever more highly-skilled social care workforce – and in high demand areas such as engineering.
“Notwithstanding these welcome measures, there is still much work to be done in order to ensure that the loans scheme is introduced successfully and that it is a positive force for sustaining participation in education for those 24 and over, rather than a barrier. Attention also needs to be paid to how the scheme will apply to apprentices, where we know that employers have expressed concerns as to how loans will operate.”