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Victory for Birmingham colleges as Government performs u-turn over apprenticeship funding

City politicians and colleges win their battle to get funding for Birmingham colleges to provide apprenticeships

Traineeships in construction are available at Bournville College
Traineeships in construction at Bournville College

The Government has backed down after announcing Birmingham colleges would be denied funding to provide urgently-needed apprenticeship courses.

Ministers are now set to announce that the funding will be made available after all.

City MPs expressed fury after the Department for Education published a list of colleges in March which will receive funding to provide apprenticeships - and no colleges in Birmingham were included.

Apprenticeships Minister Robert Halfon agreed to meet MPs to discuss their concerns, after he was told the Government was “destroying technical education for 16-year-olds in the West Midlands”.

The March announcement came as a shock to college managers. Birmingham Metropolitan College Principal Andrew Cleaves said at the time: “(We) put forward a solid proposal to the Skills Funding Agency (and) we are very surprised and disappointed by the outcome.”

Birmingham Met College
Birmingham Met College

Birmingham MPs said the Government was failing to provide Birmingham’s workforce with the skills employers need.

But MPs have now been told that Birmingham colleges who applied for funding will now be added to the register of colleges eligible for money.

They include South & City College, Birmingham Metropolitan College and others.

Jack Dromey, Labour candidate for Birmingham Erdington and one of the politicians leading the campaign to get the colleges included, said: “The bizarre decision to exclude Birmingham’s great Colleges from in future providing much-needed Apprenticeships has now been reversed.

Birmingham Mail Jack Dromey
Jack Dromey

“We worked hard to persuade government and the Skills Funding Agency to put right a wrong to colleges who have had for many years a reputation for providing high-quality Apprenticeships.

“Tens of thousands of Brummies can now look forward to the best start in life as we meet the growing need for skilled labour in Birmingham.”

A Department for Education spokesperson declined to comment.

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