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East Anglians shun higher education

PUBLISHED: 22:31 21 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:42 03 March 2010

OUR region has one of the worst rates in the country for people going on to further education - and the pressure is on for education specialists to address our skills shortage.

OUR region has one of the worst rates in the country for people going on to further education - and the pressure is on for education specialists to address our skills shortage.

A team of regional specialists is trying to come up with ways of addressing the skills deficit by the end of September. The spotlight fell on Ipswich this week when they visited the Holiday Inn to get local input from representatives of Suffolk organisations.

New of the meeting comes after the Evening Star highlighted the lack of formal qualifications in Ipswich on Thursday.

The meeting was designed to get a snapshot of what is going on and what is needed, and identify where the gaps exist.

Led by Professor Chris Green at the Government Office for the East of England (GO-EAST), the group wants to devise a business plan to fulfil the government's 2010 target of raising the number of 18 to 30-year-olds experiencing higher education to 50 per cent.

The Eastern region has one of the lowest levels of higher education participation in the country, with only 44 per cent of Suffolk people achieving an A level or equivalent, against 46pc nationally.

A quarter of East Anglians have a higher education qualification while the national figure is 27pc.

The statistics highlight the shortage in skilled labour, and the major ramifications it has for the region's economy.

Professor Chris Green, said: "Although there has been a lot of innovatory work already carried out in this area over the last four to five years, we still have a long way to go if we are going to achieve the target.

"Higher education needs to engage a wider range of groups, particularly if we are going to ensure that the workforce is to meet the regional demand for higher level qualifications which is expected to rise."

"To help make the exercise a success and gain a wider representative perspective, we really want to hear from any interested parties - whether they are parents, teachers, youth workers, employers or anyone wishing to add their thoughts on how to attract more people into higher education."

The results of the extensive consultation will be published in October.

Send your comments to Professor Chris Green, director, Regional Office, Anglia Polytechnic University, Bishop's Hall Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 1LL or email c.green@apu.ac.uk

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