THE Barrow and Furness MP raised his concerns at the low number of leavers attending university in the area in Parliament.

Speaking in the House of Commons, John Woodcock asked the Education Secretary Damien Hinds if he or universities minister Chris Skidmore would meet with him to discuss how to improve the situation.

The latest figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service showed that Mr Woodcock’s constituency ranked lowest in the country for school leavers going to university, with 15 per cent making the step up.

Furness College said the figures did not count the number of students who enrol directly onto degree courses at the institution.

Mr Woodcock said: “Will the Secretary of State or the Universities Minister meet me to see how we can address that gap? We are really proud of our apprenticeship scheme, but a generation of talent is being lost to the country because of this.

Responding to the MP, Mr Hinds said he would meet Mr Woodcock and that universities should be the ones to reach out to students to improve the figures.

He said: “I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question and he is absolutely right that we all need a blend in our local areas - apprenticeships, further education and higher education.

“My hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore) or I would be delighted to meet him.

“I will just mention, though, that universities these days have very large sums of money available for access and participation plans, and they should be reaching out into all communities, including in Furness, to make sure that all children have the opportunity to make the most of those if they can.”

The figures from UCAS ranked school leavers in Furness bottom of the list for the latest application cycle.

Previously Bristol South had the lowest rate in the country.

Mark Nicholson, deputy principal of Furness College, said the statistics were “not reflective” of how many actually students actually achieved degrees, which were not counted by UCAS.