Wiltshire Publications

Issue 501 – College centre to close

WILTSHIRE College has announced that its Westbury centre is to close. The branch, located in the town centre, will close over the summer, along with centres in Calne and Melksham and the college’s IT Learning Centres.

Wiltshire College stated that the decision to close the Westbury branch was made following funding cuts. Bev Flanagan, vice-principal enterprise for Wiltshire College said, “The college, as a result of funding cuts, is in the position of having to save £1.5m over the next 12 months. Significant cuts in funding for adult learner responsive courses this year (16%) and last (9%), mean that we will not be able to deliver many of the courses we traditionally offered at our outreach centres. ”
“We will continue to offer a wide range of IT and ‘skills for life’ courses for learners in Wiltshire and our existing students will be given advice on how to access these. The college is also increasing the diversity of its provision through Skills3, an exciting new programme of skills experiences.”
Westbury Mayor cllr Christine Mitchell said, “It’s a blow for the town, and it will certainly be a great loss for the people who use it and who benefit from it. There are always people in there when I go in.”
Cllr Mike Cuthbert Murray added, “The college is widely used by a lot of local residents. It’s another service from Wiltshire Council going, they’re making far too many cuts in Westbury.”
The centre currently offers a number of part- times courses, including courses in accountancy and finance, art design and crafts, computing and information technology, languages, and literacy and numeracy. After the centre closes, Westbury students will have to travel to other sites, the nearest of which is the Trowbridge campus.