Norwich one-stop-shop for learning opportunities to close

Adults learners in and around Norwich are set to face a fresh blow as a one-stop-shop for information on learning and training closes next month.

The axe will fall on the Learning Shop in the Forum, Norwich, on March 31 due to funding issues.

For the more than a decade, the centre, which is run in partnership by City College Norwich and the University of East Anglia, has provided information and guidance to prospective adult learners.

Once the centre closes, the Learning Shop will continue as an online course information and sign-posting resource.

The closure will also result in the loss of six part-time Learning Shop adviser posts and four student assistant positions.


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Officials from the city college and the UEA issued a joint statement which said: 'All of the Learning Shop's partners are now facing unprecedented funding pressures, with adult learning having been hit particularly hard.

'The imminent loss of funding from AimHigher, which funds one of three full-time adviser posts and contributes a further �10,000 a year, made it very difficult to see a viable future for the Learning Shop as it currently operates.

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'The partners would like to publicly express our thanks to the Learning Shop's advisers who, over the years, have always provided a welcoming, professional and impartial service to the public.'

The Learning Shop originally opened in Guildhall Hill in Norwich in 1997 and later moved to the Forum in 2001.

Over the 14 years, it has assisted thousands of enquirers each year, face-to-face, by telephone and by email.

The Learning Shop website will continue to signpost users to all of the main learning providers and training opportunities available locally.

Lucy Hogg, director of WEETU (Women's Employment, Enterprise and Training Unit), said news of the closure was 'very disappointing'.

'We've always worked very closely with the Learning Shop and it's a very important first point of call for those looking to get back into education and more importantly getting back into work,' she said.

'Any online resource is better than nothing but it's not going to reach the hardest to reach learners who are often the ones who would benefit from the service the most. I don't think you can really replace face-to-face contact with people.'

To access the Learning Shop website, go to www.learningshopnorwich.org.uk

What do you think of the closure of the Learning Shop? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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