Waterford College of Further Education (WCFE), previously known as the Central Technical Institute, may be forced to turn away ‘hundreds’ of people who have applied for autumn courses.

That was the fear expressed by acting Waterford VEC head and WCFE Principal Gerard Morgan who said that Government imposed limits and funding cutbacks could restrict his college’s subject range in September.

This ‘nightmare scenario’ has been mooted amidst an unprecedented rise in applications to WCFE which could serve to compound the situation.

WCFE Board of Management Chair Councillor Mary O’Halloran said that restricting course opportunities during recessionary times was completely at odds with the Government’s National Skills Strategy.

“It’s worth stating that this strategy is a plan to educate, retrain and upskill people during the economic downturn, to ensure that the community has a suitably educated workforce to work its way out of the recession,” said Cllr O’Halloran.

She re-iterated that WCFE has proven itself as a quality provider to the local labour force and “is ideally placed to provide opportunities for essential upskilling”.

At a Board of Management meeting on April 23rd, Cllr O’Halloran and her colleagues decided to press the Government to “reconsider its decision to restrict the capacity of the College”.

The Board hopes that the Department of Education (or, to be more accurate in this instance, the Department of Finance) will opt for a re-think which will best serve the city “in these challenging times”.