Our young people are our greatest asset. An investment in them is an investment in our opportunity to compete globally.
A properly funded and accessible university and vocational training system is vital if today’s teenagers are to gain meaningful employment in tomorrow’s economy.
Severe financial cuts have been placed on our universities. That means fewer places which are harder to access. Young people either don’t proceed to third level education or are forced away.
Thirty percent of our young people travel to Britain each year to study where fees are higher and were they incur more debt. Two thirds of those who leave never return.
The SDLP will reverse the recent cuts in university places and fund increased student places in Northern Ireland, including at Ulster University, Magee. In addition, we will ensure additional investment in apprenticeships.
We will also reduce tuition fees paid by students to minimise the debt burden on young people and ensure comprehensive access to third level education.
A system where all young people can access third level education and training is the norm across Europe. That is the system our young people deserve. That is the system the SDLP will introduce.