CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has welcomed news that more young people in Wrexham than ever before are benefiting from Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs).
New statistics released by the Welsh Government show that 300 students in full-time Further Education in the county have benefited from EMAs in 2011-12, an increase of over a quarter in the last four years.
The figures show a big jump across Wales, with 400 young people in Flintshire receiving full-time EMA support, a rise of over 63% since 2008-09.
The EMA Wales scheme was introduced in 2004/05. It aims to address the link between low income and low participation by providing a financial incentive to students from low-income households to stay in school and college beyond compulsory education.
The news comes as Alan Milburn, the former Labour minister appointed as the UK Government’s child poverty adviser, admitted it was a mistake to scrap the EMA in England.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said:
“I’m absolutely delighted to see that the Welsh Government’s Education Maintenance Allowance is having such a huge impact, encouraging students to stay in full and part-time Further Education in Wrexham.
“The UK Government scrapped the EMA in England, but as we can see from the statistics, they are helping more and more students in Wrexham and elsewhere stay in education and training, helping them get the qualifications they need for the modern workplace.
“The costs associated with education are rising, but the Welsh Labour Government is determined to protect Welsh students, whether they study in FE or HE, from the oppressive burden of debt and financial hardship.
“The most important thing about the £1,500 allowance for full time learners and £750 for those in part time study is that it helps the poorest young people in Wrexham. It benefits learners by boosting retention rates in education and helping upskill our wider economy through more and more young people getting the qualifications they need.
“I’m delighted to see the EMA doing such great work across Wales and hope the UK Government will reconsider their reckless policy of forcing poor students across the border out of full and part time further education.”