Every course has value in tough times

7th October 2011 at 01:00

I am disappointed in the views articulated by John Linfoot in his letter ("Snipping away at FE courses' value", 30 September). I, too, had taken much interest in your article "A sector still sold short by snobs - and schools" (FE Focus, 23 September).

I am a manager of several departments in an "outstanding" college. I am a grade 1 lecturer, an enterprise champion, present at conferences, have a degree, have spent the past five years working towards a doctorate of education, and, yes, I'm a hairdresser.

I teach hairdressing and barbering. I embed enterprise, sustainability, politics and economics into all my lessons, providing my learners with life skills that are honed along with their practical skills to enhance their social mobility. Mr Linfoot discusses "low-quality qualifications" and states that young people "should aspire to do better".

Unfortunately, Mr Linfoot does not offer any evidence to support his claims. He would be "surprised if more than 1 per cent were still in the industry five years after leaving college". Twenty-four years after achieving my hairdressing qualifications I am still in the industry, as are many of my colleagues.

How will vocational lecturers achieve parity of esteem when such views are openly expressed? As a sector we need to collaborate and support one other, and not perpetuate the academicvocational divide.

Claire Indans, North Lindsey College, Scunthorpe.

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