HEART of Worcestershire College has joined forces with institutions across the country to protest against swingeing cuts to adult education funding.

The Government has announced it will slash the adult education budget by 24 per cent in 2015-16, which could lead to 190,000 adult learning places being lost nationwide.

This could mean as many as 1,500 fewer places at the college, which has sites in Worcester, Malvern, Bromsgrove and Redditch, dramatically affecting the number of adults in the county who can get training and education.

Stuart Laverick, the college's principal and chief executive, said: "Every year we have adults attend the college to retrain for a new job, whether it’s due to redundancy or wanting a change in career.

"We need to have enough funding to continue our support."

Heart of Worcestershire College has backed a campaign by the Association of Colleges, which represents 336 institutions in England, including further education, sixth-form, tertiary and land-based colleges, to oppose the cuts.

Martin Doel, chief executive of the AoC, said: "We’re living in an ever-changing society in which people do not keep to the same career path for their whole lives.

"These people need the options of returning to education or undertaking training.

"Adult education and training is effectively being decimated.

"It is too important to be lost and these cuts could mean an end to the vital courses that train people such as nurses and social care workers."

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills confirmed budget cuts had been made, but said the most important areas had been protected.

A spokeswoman said: "We fully recognise the important role further education plays in getting people the skills they need to get on.

"That's why we've committed more than £3.9 billion in 2015-16 to adult learning and further education, including £770 million of apprenticeship funding.

"We also expect to spend up to £80 million on the National Colleges programme.

"While total funding has been reduced, priority has been given to the areas where the most impact can be made - apprenticeships, traineeships and support with English and maths.

"Many colleges and training organisations have responded well to the need to find other income streams for skills provision and it is this approach that will help them succeed."