Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Adult education programme axed

A MAJOR adult education programme is to be scrapped at Solihull libraries.

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The free Learndirect service, held at five borough libraries, will be withdrawn from October 1.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has lost its contract to run the service from Learndirect because of funding changes.

Learndirect parent company University for Industry (Ufi) has been tasked by the Government with providing adult education since 1998 and courses have been offered in Solihull since 2000.

But it said: “The current financial and planning imperatives mean that Ufi is having to make a significant shift in its focus to higher volume providers.”

Reading and maths courses are offered at Solihull Central Library, Castle Bromwich Library, Chelmsley Wood Library, Hobs Moat Library and Kingshurst Library.

More than 70 people got qualifications last year. A council report says the service “has contributed directly to healthier and more prosperous communities”.

It employs staff working 1.2 and 0.33 of a full working week. They will moved into other roles or be made redundant, a move that would see a £10,000 payout.

Cash for the scheme was cut from £95,439 in 2009/10 to £40,048 in 2010/11.

The council is trying to get other Learndirect providers to use the libraries but no deal has been reached. It has pledged to provide other courses with library staff.

The firm told The Silhillian: “In order to use our funding to help as many people as we can across England we have decided to work with fewer, larger providers which deliver quality learning to people living in areas with the highest levels of need, in particular unemployment.

“Unfortunately this means some providers will not be receiving a contract in 2011/2012, including Solihull MBC.”

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