Sandhaven man voices opposition to ILA cuts

A Sandhaven man has hit out at cuts to ILA funding.

Craig Trail, who is a Commanding of Fraserburgh Sea Cadets, has contacted local councillors regarding criteria changes to the Individual Learning Account.

Speaking to the Herald, Craig said Sea Cadets were missing out due to the changes, which have already taken effect.

The ILA, which is an allowance of £200, is enough to cover the BTEC training which Sea Cadets can go through. The course is studied over two years and is open to Sea Cadets who are between 16 and 18 years old. However, the criteria changes means that many Sea Cadets now have to pay the money themselves.

Craig commented: “I am disappointed to learn that changes to the eligibility criteria for access to ILA funding has resulted in many of our young people aged 16 - 19 being denied the opportunity to take BTEC vocational qualifications.

“Until recent changes, members of the Sea Cadets in Scotland were afforded the same opportunities as young people in the rest of the UK, to access funding to take the BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Public Services, Music and Engineering - Vocational Qualifications with proven value in improving access to higher/further education and ultimately employment.

“It is a great pity that young people who show a commitment to learning in their own time, outside school, in order to improve their life-chances, are now being penalised.

“The nature of the training and development programme means that these young learners become valued members of the local communities and that they gain essential new communication, leadership and citizenship skills highly regarded by colleges and employers.

“Therefore, as a concerned constituent and Commanding Officer of Fraserburgh Sea Cadets and for the sake of our young learners, I ask that we press the government to explain: why it made these changes at this time, how denying young people the education funding fits with its commitment to youth and what alternative provision is available to allow them to access additional learning?”

“It is worry that young Scots are not given equal access to the same opportunities as their counterparts in the rest of the UK. Therefore I would ask this community strongly to press the government to reconsider its decision to change the funding criteria, and to re-enable those now disadvantaged young people access again to the appropriate funding.”