College cuts slammed

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Cumbernauld College is at the centre of a row at Holyrood amidst claims that Scottish Government cuts are ruining the life chances of youngsters

It stems from a controversial claim made by the Scottish Conservatives that course are being cut to save money, in a move denied by both the Scottish Government and the college itself - which is merging will Motherwell College.

The college has phased out more than 25 courses in the last academic year including a range of HNCs in hairdressing and childcare plus other courses in welding, intermediate Spanish plus computing.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said : “These college cuts come at a particularly sensitive time when we should be doing all we can to ensure our young people are equipped with the skills to thrive in the modern workplace. Young people are losing out on the chance to learn vital skills which can lead directly to a job.’’

However a Scottish Government spokesman said: “The reality is that a record number of young people are attending full-time courses, those most likely to help them get and sustain a job. And we have maintained our plege to maintain college student numbers.’’

He added that an additional £61 million would be invested in colleges in the next two years with a view to boosting the number of skilled workers in Scotland’s workforce.

A Cumbernauld College spokesperson said: “The number of funded learner places available for the current academic year 2013/14 is comparable with the places available in the academic cyear 2010/11. Continuous improvement is driven by comprehensive curriculum review and development.

‘‘As a result our portfolio of programmes chances from year to year to ensure the community we serve is provided with access to the latest innovative, high quality and relevant learning,’’ he added.