Coronavirus: Dagenham and Rainham MP urges government to include college plans in recovery strategy
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 June 2020
An MP has backed a call for £4billion to fund skills, apprenticeships and colleges to avoid the kind of economic decline last seen in the 1980s.
Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas has voiced support for plans from the Association of Colleges (AOC), which urge chancellor Rishi Sunak to agree to a £3.6bn funding boost.
A conversation with principal of Barking and Dagenham College, Yvonne Kelly, prompted the member of parliament to lobby Mr Sunak.
Mr Cruddas wrote: “As we move away from the measures put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, skills-based learning, apprenticeships, and our colleges will have a practical and integral role to play.
“This will be particularly true in more deprived areas, where there is a higher likelihood that people will find themselves unemployed as a result of the crisis.”
There are currently 4,120 college-goers in Dagenham and Rainham; 2,960 of these are adults, with the remaining 1,160 aged 16-18-years-old.
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The MP wants greater provision for adults, alongside assurances that every young person who wants one will have a funded college place.
Mr Cruddas also wants the same apprenticeship opportunities to remain available as already taken up by 750 people from the constituency in 2018/2019.
The MP concludes by urging the government not to allow Dagenham and Rainham to fall into a 1980s-like decline.
The AOC, which acts as a collective voice for English colleges, wants the government funding to put its national plan in place.
Colleges will be vital to both young people and adults in the aftermath of Covid-19, according to the association, which also expects to be instrumental in rebuilding a labour market which has suffered 600,000 job losses since March.
It wants money to provide extra college places to cope with an expected increase in demand from youngsters faced with fewer employment prospects.
It also called for support to help students catch up on lost learning caused by lockdown; help to address an expected reduction in the number of apprenticeships and training for adults taking up jobs in new sectors.
These requests are included in the AOC’s “five key asks” of government: retain, relaunch and retrain, each underpinned by resource and review.
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