Colleges that teach horticulture are warning of higher fees and course closures as a result of changes to the way they are funded by the Government.
Reaseheath College head of horticulture Ian Benison said: “We’ve already had to merge classes to make them viable. If colleges have to start charging the full cost of their courses, that could triple the price, putting them out of reach of many people.”
He added: “The industry already has a skills and people shortage and this will magnify the problem.”
The Learning & Skills Council (LSC) announced a cut of £55 million for funding to adult students in June, coupled with a £240 million increase in funding for 16- to 18-year-olds.
An LSC representative said: “Those people who already have the basics, and their employers, will be expected to pay for training.”
Easton College director of learning Paul Dunning said the changes would hit horticulture particularly hard. “Three-quarters of our horticulture and floristry students are 19 or over, unlike sports or public services students, who are mostly school leavers.
Easton has already increased the cost of admission to its horticulture courses by up to 50 per cent. Dunning said it was too early to say how this would affect student numbers.
Writtle College has been awarded Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) status in horticulture. This will bring it £250,000 over three years to develop training and increase student numbers.
Have you registered with us yet?
Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins
Sign up now