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Staying local can reduce mobility

How right Sir Christopher Ball was to assert that the fourth 'R' - work- readiness - and, in particular, the Auf Wiedersehen, Pet factor - mobility - will be key factors in the future employment prospects of our students (TES, June 9).

How unfortunate, therefore, that current practice actively discourages such mobility.

Increasingly, post-16 course duplication and the marketing and recruitment free-for-all surrounding it, seem to emphasise the convenience of virtual doorstep attendance. Once hooked, the same "funding units" are actively encouraged to progress to higher education within the same neighbourhood college.

Of those who do transfer to other institutions, an increasing number are forced by cash-strapped parents to attend local universities.

In the past, full-time students who missed out on the maturation processes of an adult working environment used to be compensated by the flexibility and self-reliance developed in their independent living.

Those hundreds of thousands, now still at home with mum and walking to a college of familiar faces, may be developing a peculiar view of the world that does little to enhance their employment prospects.

JOHN POWNER Light Oaks, Staffordshire

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