Shock as skills centre for jobless faces axe
A COLLEGE that helps unemployed people gain new skills and find work is facing closure.
The Manchester International College, in Churchgate, may have to shut in January after its funding was cut off by Learndirect.
The company helps hundreds of people out of work gain qualifications in numeracy, literacy and computer skills for free, as well as giving them help finding a job with CV surgeries and advice.
It costs £300,000 a year to run the centre and MP for Bolton South East Yasmin Qureshi said she is committed to helping the branch find alternative funding.
She said: “I will be writing to the relevant organisations to see if there is a way this centre can stay open.
“I’ll be telling them about the number of people I have met here today and express how this centre is so important to them.
“For many people it gives them their lives back and the opportunity to find jobs again.”
The company’s centres across the country have been affected by the cut in funding from Learndirect, which receives its investments from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), part of the government’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
Manager of the college Sandra O’Connell added: “It will be such a shame if the centre closes.
“We have been on Churchgate since May, 2012, and have helped thousands of people since we opened. We’re trying to secure funding directly through the SFA — people love it here.”
Halliwell resident Karen Ashton has visited the College regularly since February to gain several computer qualifications.
The 57-year-old said: “I’ve come to the centre to learn computer skills, as I’ve always been a manual worker.
“It’s amazing — I’ve taken lots of different courses and it’s built my confidence up.
“It’ll be devastating if it closes. We need places like this in Bolton. There’s nowhere else like it.”
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