Councillor mounts fight to save learning and training centre

An announcement that the Adam Smith College is to pull out of its college@Kelty has brought anger to the village of Kelty where learners and the local councillor are pledging to fight to retain the facility.

Alex Rowley has now written to Adam Smith College Principal Mr Craig Thomson seeking a meeting to discuss the issue and is calling on the closure plans to be put on hold till further discussion and options are examined by the college and Fife Council. Mr Rowley said; “I am well aware of the scale of cuts being placed on the college by the Scottish government; which has all but abandoned any funding for adults over the age of 25 to get into education, but locally we must find alternative ways of protecting access to skills, training and education for adults. At a time when we are seeing more people being put out of work and struggling to find new jobs, the ability to gain and up grade your skills locally should not be removed.
The Fife Labour leader has also written to Executive Director for Community Services within Fife Council Mr Steve Grimond and wants an urgent meeting with him to look at the options for the council providing assistance to keep the facility within the village. He said; “One of the major costs to the college is the permanent hire from the Council of the room which hosts the learning centre in Kelty’s Moray Institute. Therefore the Council rather than supporting adult education within the village is making money from it which is now a direct threat to its future. The Council also has a responsibility for adult education but does not seem to do joined up working with its partners such as the colleges otherwise I would have thought they would have got their heads together to make this skills facility sustainable”.

Mr Rowley is also highlighting some of the social and economic factors in making his argument that Kelty should not have such services withdrawn. He highlighted that the 2001 census showed that over 40% of the population had no or very low formal qualifications while figures released in May 2011 show that 25% of the resident population aged between 16 and 24 were claiming out of work benefits which is more than double the Fife average. The Lochs councillor said; “This demonstrates we have a real need in Kelty for this skills centre and I will be putting forward proposals to the college and council for its retention and for it to be promoted for more people to know about and use”.

The Labour leader is also a member of the Fife Partnership Board but was scathing at the lack of partnership and joined up working in Fife . He said; “What is clear to me is that partnership in Fife is more about going to meetings than about meeting people’s needs. We need a complete rethink on how we bring service provision together and this closure in Kelty is one good example of how not to do it. It is not always about having more money, it is about how you use the resources you have in a better way to meet the key objectives of the Fife Partnership and in this case the council and the college must work together”.

Post Author: Alex Rowley