A STUDENT nurse is shocked at the closure of an award-winning learning centre which helped her secure a place on a degree course.
Thai-born Nutchanant Mumsam, 33, was only accepted on the University of Chester’s nursing degree after passing English and maths through its Learning and Enterprise Centre.
But the university is closing the Bluecoat School-based centre saying it faces a significant cut in grant although this is disputed by the funders.
Nutchanant, known as Ning, who lives in Chester city centre and is a part-time health care assistant at the Countess of Chester Hospital, fears others will lose out on the opportunities she enjoyed.
“I feel sorry for all the staff and the students. All the students were shocked when they got the letter,” said Ning, a British citizen, who is now studying IT at the centre.
Officially recognised as the best in the country at an awards ceremony hosted by TV presenters Eamonn Holmes and his wife Ruth Langsford, the centre offers free online courses under the banner ‘learning for all’ helping mature, foreign and disabled students.
A university spokeswoman said the centre received £356,000 funding from Universities For Industry (UFI) in 2008-09 which had decreased by 24% in the current year. A further 11% cut was anticipated in 2010-11 yet the centre was expected to deliver more work.
“Continuing to operate a service under those conditions would be unsustainable,” she added.
But a UFI spokeswoman said although overall funding would decrease the effect on each centre was unclear at this stage.
She said: “The university withdrew before discussions had even begun about the contract value. Some contracts may go up in value and some may go down.”