Honiton student fears loss of city IT learning centre

A HONITON student is dismayed that an IT learning centre is to close as she nears the end of her course.

A HONITON student is dismayed that an IT learning centre is to close as she nears the end of her course.Deborah Sproule, 52, of Chestnut Way, has been fast-tracking her way through an ITQ Level 2 computer course, to improve her employment prospects, since last summer.Malcolm Walsh, assistant principal of Exeter College, which runs two Government-subsidised Metro Learning Centres, in Exeter and Exmouth, wrote to students announcing its closure 'later this academic year'.The centres are run by the college in conjunction with Tektra, one of the UK's largest IT training organisations, and the decision was taken because part-time learners are 'increasingly training at home' he said.The centre provides both the working and the unemployed with IT training -those on benefits receive the service free of chargeDeborah says, although training will continue in Exeter, courses will be run from the main college campus and be restricted to the evenings."Currently, the Metro IT Learning Centre is open all week long, with hours during the day and some evenings," she said."You can go to the centre at any time, stay as long as you like and get through the course at your own pace. "When it closes, Exeter College will offer a part-time course, with a choice of two different evenings. A person newly starting the course will only be able to put in one evening a week for two hours." Deborah is concerned the limitations will make the course inaccessible to many.Mr Walsh said: "We wrote to all our Metro students last week informing them that, as a result of a review of the curriculum offered by our Metro IT Learning Centres, in Exeter High Street and Exmouth, we are proposing to close the centres later this academic year. "The reason for this proposal is that it is apparent from the review that it is no longer viable to operate the two centres because of changing trends in the way part-time learners study IT, with students training increasingly in their own workplace or at home."We will continue to provide support to all our Metro learners...

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