Evning access course for health and social professions axed in Norfolk

An evening access course for people wanting to train as a health or social care professional has been axed in Norfolk.

Mum-of-two Alison Hopkins signed up for the September two-year course so she could gain the relevant qualifications needed to secure a university place and fulfil her ambition of becoming a midwife.

However, the Sutton mum has been told by Norfolk County Council's adult education service the course will now not be going ahead after its funding was scrapped by the Skills Funding Agency.

Mrs Hopkins, 37, who works at Catfield Primary School, said: 'I feel deflated as I had my hopes set on this course and knew where I was going. There are full-time courses during the day but I need an evening course as I can't give up work just yet.'

When she was younger, Mrs Hopkins did two years of a three-year pre-registration midwifery course but was unable to complete it for personal reasons. Now, with both of her children of school age, she was hoping to return to her studies. However, as midwifery courses are now degree level, she does not have the maths qualification needed to gain a place without first undertaking an access course.

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The news comes as 96pc of delegates at the National Federation of Women's Institutes' annual meeting, including those from Norfolk, last week voted to support a resolution calling for the government to invest in the employment and training of more midwives.

Beverley Evans, head of the adult education service, said learners due to start the second year of the course will continue to study, but added: 'I realise the withdrawal of the part-time access to health and social care professions course will come as a blow for those who were hoping to take up a place on it.

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'Regrettably, the success rates for students on the course fell below the minimum standard required by the Skills Funding Agency, which has provided the funding to enable us to run it. We had long discussions with the Skills Funding Agency before this decision was made, but they were concerned that too many people who start the course drop out before completing it.'

She said: 'I would encourage anyone who was hoping to study on this course to get in touch so we can discuss the learning options that are available to them and how we can help them to learn new skills, gain qualifications or retrain.'

Anyone who wants advice about adult learning or training in Norfolk should call adult education on 0344 800 8020 or email learner.relations@norfolk.gov.uk


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