More than 3,000 places will be lost at Southern Regional College (SRC) if proposed budget cuts go ahead, its chief executive has warned.
Brian Doran said the cuts would have a “devastating impact” on continued opportunities for young people and adult learners.
The reduction in the budget would also mean job losses for staff.
SRC has six campuses, including those at Portadown, Armagh and Lurgan, with 5,212 full-time students and 30,003 part-time.
Mr Doran added, “The reductions will affect the college’s provision in full-time further and higher education, skills training as well as our support through community outreach programmes.
“If the Executive is serious above rebalancing and rebuilding the economy this will not be achieved without the necessary investment in our young people. The importance of a vibrant and flexible further education sector and its contribution to economic growth and development through the provision of high quality education and training should not be forgotten when the Executive sits down to finalise budgets.”
Gerry Campbell, chief executive of Colleges Northern Ireland, said the cuts would “disproportionately impact the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society”.
He said, “Raising aspirations and improving life chances is essential for building a society which values the contribution of all our people.
“Colleges NI will continue to work with the Minister, his executive colleagues and other stakeholders to emphasise the importance of continuing to invest in further education for the long term benefit of our economy and our people”.
The 10.8 per cent reduction in the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) draft budget for 2015/16 would affect all six further education colleges across Northern Ireland.
The department, which describes the level of cuts as “unprecedented” is asking for the public’s views.
Completed responses should be emailed to: email@example.com or delivered to the department by 5pm on December 29.