Following the budget announcement on Wednesday, an extra £305 million has been promised to universities in England, creating an additional 20,000 student places for the next academic year, report Perspective, a leading authority in learning management and student and training monitoring.
The extra funding will come in two stages; the first being a one-off payment of £270 million to a ‘university modernisation fund’ that will create the extra spaces, widely thought to be in key subjects such as maths, science, technology and engineering.
Of the £270 million payment, £20 million will be allocated to the Higher Education Funding Council for England for projects to raise efficiency and value for money through the continued development of shared services, collaborative procurement and other innovative ways of cutting overheads and back-office costs.
The remaining £35 million will be placed into a “university enterprise capital fund” to support spin-off companies and other commercial initiatives.
Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “Universities must make efficiency savings while focusing their funds rigorously on quality teaching and research,” but without damaging key skills and the country’s economic strengths.
The Budget guaranteed a place in education or training for all 16- and 17-year-olds, plus a job, work experience or training for everyone aged between 18 and 24. It also promised a higher number of apprenticeships.
The cost of these and other pledges would be met partly by switching resources from within existing budgets and by the higher revenues raised from the tax on bankers’ bonuses, the chancellor added.
Paul David, Managing Director of Perspective, commented: “Everyone gets a little nervous when the budget is due to be announced, especially as cut back were widely expected as a result of the recession. However, this is really positive news and in fact, a move that will ultimately help us recover from the recession on a long term basis.”
Perspective offers learner management solutions and training consultancy for the evolving UK education and skills sector. Perspective’s suite of software is currently utilised by many blue-chip enterprises and over fifty Local Authorities around the UK.
The Perspective portfolio includes a unique collection of learning and training management systems. PerspectiveCLM (Collaborative Learning Manager) has been designed to support partnerships delivering the various 14-19 agenda and new pathways, whilst Sunesis has been created to support work based learning schemes, apprentice training and vocational learning establishments which provide NVQ’s and Train to Gain in the UK.