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Adult Education: Finance

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL9382, tabled on 20 October 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Confederation of British Industry Learning for life: Funding a world-class adult education system, published on 19 October.

Answered on

3 November 2020

The key theme of the report mirrors our own assessment of the need for reskilling and the importance of adult education. We have introduced or announced a range of policies to help boost adult education.

To help boost apprenticeship opportunities, we are supporting employers to invest in the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow by offering £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and £1,500 for those aged 25 and over, in recognition of the value apprentices of any age can bring to businesses and to our economic recovery.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister recently announced a new lifetime skills guarantee that will help support adults across the country to make lifelong learning a reality - opening doors for more people to realise their talents, develop new skills and get better jobs.

For adults who do not currently have a level 3 qualification, the government will be fully funding their first full level 3 through the National Skills Fund. This entitlement will be targeted at areas with high economic value and the strongest alignment with government priorities, to ensure the best possible returns for individuals, employers and the nation.

New digital bootcamps, in 6 areas, will support local regions and employers to fill in-demand vacancies. The bootcamp training courses will provide valuable skills based on employer demand and will offer a fast track to a job interview on completion. Pending the success of the initial bootcamps, we are planning to expand the digital bootcamps to more of the country from spring 2021. We also want to extend this model to include other technical skills training.

A Lifelong Loan Entitlement, which will provide individuals with an entitlement to 4 years of loan funding to use over their lifetime. The entitlement could be used for modules of a course, as well as full years of study. We will be consulting on the Lifelong Loan Entitlement in due course and will bring in legislation later in the Parliament as necessary.

This is on top of the already announced £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations), for the National Skills Fund to help adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future. It aims to boost productivity and ensure more people and places can share in the rewards that improved productivity can bring. It also presents a great opportunity to create a more coherent and simpler system that learners, providers, local areas and employers can more easily understand and navigate. Further plans for the National Skills Fund will be communicated in due course.

We are also continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) (£1.34 billion in the 2020/21 academic year). The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults to gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. This includes fully funded courses in English and maths, for adults who need to improve their literacy and numeracy, fully funded first full level 2 and/or level 3 for learners aged 19 to 23 and fully funded specified digital skills qualifications for adults with no/low digital skills.