29/05/2003

£134m cash injection for further education sector

Employment Minister Jane Kennedy has today announced a £134 million funding package for further education in Northern Ireland.

Speaking during a visit to North Down and Ards Institute of Further and Higher Education, the Minister confirmed the funding for Northern Ireland’s 16 further education colleges.

She said: "The colleges will receive a total funding of £120 million in the 2003/2004 academic year, which represents a substantial increase of 12.5 percent compared to last year.

"A further £14 million will be made available to colleges for specific initiatives designed to support economic development, widen access to and increase participation of those under-represented in learning and to raise standards of both teaching and learning within further education."

Highlighting the vision for further education and its developing relationship with local industry, Ms Kennedy said: "Important links are being forged with local businesses, voluntary and community bodies and our colleges and this development programme will continue. There is already increasing evidence to demonstrate that more and more people in Northern Ireland are reaching their full potential through the provision of opportunities within further education to update their skills and to support their social and personal development."

Northern Ireland’s 16 Further Education Colleges receive their main recurrent grant allocations through the Further Education Funding Formula which is based on the measurement of student activity and achievement called a Student Powered Unit of Resource (SPUR).

Whilst the overall increase in college budgets is over 12.5%, the increases in individual colleges’ budgets will vary depending on the student activity levels at individual colleges such as student enrolment numbers, mode of delivery, duration of courses and type of provision.

(MB)

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