Harlow MP, Robert Halfon defends record on education in Harlow

Politics / Wed 25th Mar 2015 at 11:28am

IN response to claims by the AOC, Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, has defended this Government’s record on Further Education, and said that will do ‘everything he can to support Harlow College’.

As soon as Robert was made aware of the problem last week, he invited Nick Boles MP, the Minister for Skills, to a meeting with the Principal of Harlow College, Karen Spencer and Debbie Sheridan, Harlow College’s Funding Diversification Manager.

During the meeting, the Minister explained that:

“This decision was made in 2010

“Whilst the total adult skills budget has been reduced, skills funding has been prioritised for young adults, the low skilled and the unemployed, and that these areas have seen increases in their budgets.

“The cut in non-apprenticeship funding is high in percentage terms because funds have been diverted into apprenticeships which have grown hugely under this Government.

“Since this government came to power, two million people have been able to take up an apprenticeship, and apprenticeships have increased by 115% in Harlow alone.

“Harlow College has said he will help Harlow College to look at other options to increase their funding, for example through Advanced Learner Loans and traineeships. He will also help them make a business plan for expansion.

Commenting on the news from the AOC, he said:

“Since being elected in 2010, I have done everything I can to support the College and have been proud to visit the College on many occasions. As soon as I heard the news I met with Harlow College and the Skills Minister, and I welcome the fact that he has said he will help Harlow College look at additional sources of funding.

Of course I would have hoped that this had not happened, however the Skills Minister said that he is using the money to put extra resources into apprenticeships. This will help more Harlow residents develop the skills they need to get on in life, and since 2010, Harlow has already seen a 115% increase in apprenticeships.

I am proud of how this Government has supported Harlow College – the number one college in England – for example, by investing £10 million in the new UTC, and a further £2.5 million in an engineering centre at the College.”

Since being elected as Harlow’s MP in 2010, Robert has championed vocational education and apprenticeships. He was the first MP to ever employ an apprentice in the House of Commons and made his maiden speech on apprenticeships.

“Since then, he has successfully campaigned to have free school meals extended to FE colleges, and for apprentices to be able to get an NUS card. He was a strong campaigner for Harlow to get a University Technical College. He recently chaired a Commission on the future of apprenticeships, with Labour Peer, Lord Glasman

A Conservative Government has pledged that it will create three million new apprenticeships so young people get the skills to succeed.

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