MP welcomes higher education rise

AN MP last night welcomed news that more young people are choosing to go on to higher education and gain the skills to succeed in the workplace.

John Howard

AN MP last night welcomed news that more young people are choosing to go on to higher education and gain the skills to succeed in the workplace.

Chris Mole, MP for Ipswich, said there has been a significant increase in the number of students in the town choosing to continue their studies at university.

Between 1997 and 2006 there has been an increase of nearly 63% in the numbers of students entering higher education, from 285 to 460.


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Mr Mole obtained the information from Government Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell during questions to the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS).

He was asking about the success of the Aim Higher programme, introduced by the Labour Government, to encourage young people who might not previously have considered a place at university to think about the benefits.

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Mr Mole said: “This is really positive news for our young people and comes at an exciting period for further and higher education in Ipswich as a whole.

“I've been particularly encouraged to hear teachers in the town telling pupils about the Aim Higher programme.

“Britain needs to become an innovative, highly-skilled economy if it is going to compete with the tiger economies of China and India and I am pleased to see that young people in Ipswich are clearly acquiring the skills necessary to succeed in the future.

“A 63% rise is a huge increase, but I want to see even more pupils studying at higher education institutions. Initiatives like the new University Campus Suffolk (UCS) are going to be key to this continued success.”

Patricia O'Brien, portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services at Suffolk County Council, said that she had not seen the figures, but would of course welcome any increase in those going on to further education.

She said: “I am delighted to see any increase in pupils' skills so they are more attractive to employers.

“In future employment people have to be flexible and the more courses you can get on, and the more qualifications you can get, the better.”

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