Colleges across Scotland are a lifeline for many. And supporting those to achieve better not only benefits them but benefits us all. Further education colleges are the signal of hope for many.
Students, society and Scotland will only prosper, and our people will only succeed if they are well- educated.
They need new skills for new industries. And we should be investing in our educational power-houses.
Unemployment blights many but the curse affects everyone.
Scottish students far and wide see not only their college places vanish but now fall prey to the dogged threat of unemployment.
Youth unemployment is one aspect that would alarm any reasonably minded person.
Youth unemployment has ballooned by 13,000 in the last three months. And youth unemployment across Scotland stands at a staggering 72,000.
Colleges near and far have saw an avalanche of cuts. This slash-and-burn approach began in 2010. And seems ever-lasting as courses fall under the axe, compulsory redundancies loom and uncertainty faces all.
In 2010 – 2011 colleges throughout Scotland bared the brunt of a 10.4% cut. And now their budgets will see a year-on-year cut; this risks not only future provision but staff and the experience the learner has.
The cut of 10.4% in 2010 by the SNP Scottish Government means Carnegie College in Fife will lose £1.4 million from their overall budget. This leaves the college facing an impossible task.
Colleges up and down Scotland not only saw major cuts in the Scottish budget last week but many see a bleak future ahead.
Educational power-houses now prepare for the worst knowing a 17% cash-cut awaits them. All the worse when their budget was just slashed in 2010 by 10.4%. They are still trying to absorb that cut; and these additional cuts mean compulsory redundancies are a knife-edge away.
With the future looking so shaky for so many our duty is to ensure that our learners of today will and can be the future of tomorrow and that no barriers hinder them from success.