Proposal for new college dismissed

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ADVOCATES of a new further education college in Skegness fear that young people will be left out after its opponents dismissed the suggestion as unrealistic.

Coun Mark Anderson made the proposal for a new centre for the town’s young people at an East Lindsey District Council meeting last Wednesday.

However this motion was amended by Coun Steve O’Dare who suggested a more general commitment to improving further education opportunities through existing providers rather than a new establishment.

Coun Anderson felt this amendment ‘killed’ his proposal and would hinder opportunities for young people. Speaking after the meeting he said: “It makes me very angry and frustrated that our young people are looking at having no chances to get the qualifications they need.”

He felt a college was necessary to counteract problems arising from increasing levels of social deprivation and the termination of schemes such as Education Maintenance Allowance, designed to help young people continue their education.

Citing Louth Rural College as an example of a college matching his aspirations locally, he hoped a new further education establishment could broaden the opportunities for young people from the traditionally offered subjects of hospitality, care work and tourism.

With the increasing focus on sources of renewable energy he believes that specialist courses could be offered in line with these emerging industries.

Coun O’Dare, speaking after the meeting, said that he shared Coun Anderson’s aspirations to improve further education opportunities for Skegness residents but felt a new college was unrealistic and more sustainable options could be achieved in partnership with the current schools and colleges.

“I’ve no problem with the wish that Coun Anderson put forward, but it’s how we achieve that goal that I question.

“Building a new college in this town is going to be so difficult and that could take the focus away from what we need to do - we need to get something in place that is affordable and workable.”

Having contacted schools and colleges in the town Coun O’Dare claims current courses are undersubsribed and so the creation of an additional centre would be unnecessary. He also doubted the possibility of finding funding from partner organisations given that Lincolnshire County Council had said there is no requirement for a new centre.