July 20, 2022 4.00 pm

‘Too many young people pushed towards degrees’, says councillor

An opportunity gap in Gainsborough?

A councillor in West Lindsey fears too many people are being pushed towards degrees after Lincoln College moved its Post-16 provision away from its Gainsborough Campus.

The authority’s Prosperous Communities Committee on Tuesday started to create a taskforce which will look at providing extra facilities in the district – including adult learning courses.

Lincoln College’s former site is set to be taken over by Castles Future, who aim to provide “alternative provision” to 11-16-year-olds instead from September.

Councillors were told there had been a “steady decline” in Post-16 students over the past decade, with estimates of just 40-60 students in Construction, Automotive and Engineering.

Conservative Councillor for Scampton Roger Patterson welcomed the report.

“It’s ridiculous that Gainsborough and the wider area is losing this place from Lincoln College.”

He said the opportunity for young people to do vocational or apprenticeship-based qualifications was important.

“Not everybody can go to university though I do think that some people are pushing for everybody to go … on doing ridiculous courses,” he added.

He pointed to new requirements for police officers to undertake degrees as part of their training.

“You can have all the degrees you want, but you can still be stupid,” said Councillor Patterson.

He said vocational courses enabled people to set up there own careers and, potentially, businesses.

“It’s important that this group works together to try and find a solution so these people… are able to see it as an attractive option to go into these courses and see they can make a success of their life.”

Scotter and Blyton Liberal Democrat Councillor Lesley Rollings said she understood the challenges and that Lincoln College had taken the view they could not run the college profitably.

She suggested there were plenty of opportunities for courses, including adult learners.

“There are a heck of a lot of people floating around Gainsborough who would love the opportunity to upgrade their qualifications [because they] suddenly realise they can’t apply for all these jobs because they haven’t got GCSE maths or English.”

The taskforce will return to the committee on a quarterly basis with a full report in a year’s time.