Mooted 10-25% reduction in funds will affect courses such as bricklaying, joinery, plastering and plumbing

The Association of Colleges is calling on chancellor Alistair Darling to protect adult students on vocational construction courses in the forthcoming Budget.

Colleges across England face a £200m cut in funding for adults and have been told that “adult learner responsive” budgets will shrink by 10-25%. This will affect training courses in areas including bricklaying, joinery, plastering, plumbing, decorating and electrical installations.

Martin Doel, the association's chief executive, said: “Colleges don't want to lose high-quality courses that make a great deal of difference to people and businesses across Britain. Unlike the current debate about university funding cuts - which will take place in the future - these changes are real and are happening now. They will affect students trying to enrol this September.”

A recent survey by the Association of Colleges, completed by 147 colleges, shows that they face an average cut of 16%. Over two fifths - 63 of those surveyed - face a cut of more than 20%.