DAERA seeks views on future Further Education support and charging at CAFRE

Date published: 01 June 2020

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has today launched a consultation document seeking the views of the public on how we support and fund Further Education at CAFRE.

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The document focuses on current financial Further Education support measures within Northern Ireland’s agriculture, food and rural college.

Publishing the consultation today, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA said: “The future of our agri-food sector relies on having a steady supply of people entering and working in the industry.  In order to successfully manage agri-food businesses these people must also commit time and effort to develop their knowledge and skills.

“A major component of CAFRE’s education programmes is its Further Education course provision which helps students get their first start in the agri-food sector.  To help them overcome any barriers to accessing these courses and allow them to focus on their studies, CAFRE provides means-tested support to full-time Further Education students.”

Minister Poots added: “The consultation launched today looks at the policies underpinning that support.  Are they still fit for purpose, do they support those most in need?  In particular, given the NI Executive focus on upskilling and my own commitment to lifelong learning, is there more that we can be doing to support part-time students who are balancing the dual pressures of work and study?

“CAFRE is renowned throughout the agri-food industry for the provision of highly-skilled students.  92% of Further Education graduates gain employment or continue with third level education, within six months of graduating. To enable this excellent achievement to continue, it is right that we constantly review the services and support available to students across CAFRE campuses.”

The consultation is the result of a review undertaken by the Department that looked at support and charging policy for Further Education courses at CAFRE.  The review, as well as making recommendations to improve support policy for Further Education students, also recommended that the current policy of not charging for Further Education courses is maintained at CAFRE.  This consultation invites the public to provide their views on this recommendation.

View the consultation documents and information on how to respond 

You are encouraged to respond to the consultation and DAERA welcomes all those with an interest to provide their views before the consultation closes on 11 September 2020.

Notes to editors: 

There are approximately 360 full-time and 650 part-time FE students at CAFRE.

The consultation seeks views on;

  • Extending support to part-time Further Education students for books and equipment associated with their part-time study;
  • Increasing the maximum amount of grant available to Further Education students;
  • Raising the lower income threshold for Further Education grants;
  • Reducing the higher income threshold for Further Education grants; and
  • Maintaining the current FE charging policy. 

All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office  Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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