The current situation means that despite the government launching a major push on maths, science and technology to equip more students with the skills needed to work and succeed in high-tech and science-based industries, there remains no financial help available to Level 2 and 3 students aged 19 to 24.
Ms Lewis said: “The UK is facing a skills shortage and if education funding was extended then many of our 19 to 24 year olds could train in the skills needed by industry, creating a skilled workforce for the future.
“Training improves job prospects and in some cases students choose to start their own businesses once they’ve completed their studies – both result in a stronger UK economy.
“There are thousands of people in the Tees Valley aged 19 to 24 who would love to complete a Level 2 or Level 3 course but the current situation means that they must be able to fund it themselves..
“That’s not possible for a large number of our young people which means they find themselves out of the education system at a crucial age – for some it’s the age when they decide which career they want.
“With the inevitable cuts to public funding, I think it’s vital that the Chancellor extends education loans to Level 2 and Level 3 for adults aged 19 to 24, it would benefit industry, the economy, and help people secure jobs meaning they could support themselves and their families.”
More than 10,000 people of all ages study at Middlesbrough College and its dedicated sixth form centre MC6.
World class training is also being delivered in the college’s newly-opened state-of-the-art £20m skills training centre, focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths and with a particular emphasis on adult retraining.
Courses are available across a wide range of disciplines including instrumentation and control, process plant technology, computer-aided design and manufacture, supply chain solutions, site operations and efficiency, health and safety, robotics, machining, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.
The college also offers the largest range of courses in the area in health and care, hospitality and catering, hair and beauty, computing, construction and performing arts.
Middlesbrough College is currently working with a range of partners to help those affected by the closure of SSI. The college has received £1.2m – the largest amount awarded to any training provider – to offer a range of specialist industrial training courses for former SSI workers and contractors.
For more details visit mbro.ac.uk