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Cuts affect long-term learning programmes

TRACY MILES
Last updated 12:18 26/02/2014
keth shaw
NATASHA MARTIN/ Fairfax NZ
QUALITY FOCUS: YMCA South and Mid Canterbury general manager Keith Shaw.

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The YMCA has started this year $150,000 down in funding with the loss of its Steps Programme.

Manager Keith Shaw said they did pick up some additional intensive literacy and numeracy funding.

But unlike the 26 hours of training in the steps programme, clients are allocated 100 hours for this.

The equivalent of 1.5 fulltime equivalent staff hours were lost.

"This Government's focus is towards returning adults to the workforce. We still have a training for work programme: Drive to Work. Those opportunities for longer-term learning are no longer there but it's too early to have any view, whether there is a gap of learners not having their needs met."

On the upside, the Youth Guarantee Programme which in Timaru includes the successful Opihi Services Academy and Body Mind Spirit which was for under 18-year-olds has been opened up to those aged up to 19. There are 39 places available with 10 vacancies presently to fill.

The YMCA's training for work programme has a 70 per cent success rate.

He said while cost cutting caused hardship at the time, the YMCA was still focussed on delivering quality programmes.

Literacy South Canterbury lost about 40 per cent of its income but is continuing to operate.

"It hasn't affected our ability to help people in the community," manager Richard Dugan said.

The organisation started this year without the 30-week adult learning and 20-week Kickstart courses. The cuts resulted in the loss of one position.

The funding loss has been managed by running shorter, smaller groups and by shifting to new premises on the corner of Grey Rd and Arthur St.

Mr Dugan said the downside was not having the longer-term courses but in compensation, an extended range of different options made Literacy South Canterbury more flexible to the clients' needs.

SOUTH CANTERBURY HERALD

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- South Canterbury

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