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National Skills Fund

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL13282, tabled on 10 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend National Skills Fund allocations beyond July 2021.

Answered on

24 February 2021

We are investing £375 million in the financial year 2021-22 for the National Skills Fund, as announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the Spending Review in November 2020. This includes £95 million funding for a new level 3 adult offer and £43 million for Skills Bootcamps.

The new level 3 adult offer will support any adult aged 24 and over who wants to achieve their first full level 3 qualification – equivalent to two A levels, or an advanced technical certificate or diploma – to access around 400 fully funded courses. This offer will be available from April 2021.

Funding for this national offer will be delivered to providers via the Adult Education Budget process. It will be administered through the Education Skills Funding Agency for residents of non-devolved areas, and by Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority for residents in those areas.

Adult funding allocations for the academic year starting August 2021, for providers funded through a grant funding agreement, are expected to be issued by the end of March 2021 and will include the National Skills Fund level 3 adult offer for learners resident in non-devolved areas. For providers who do not receive an up-front allocation funding for April 2021 to July 2021, arrangements about how to access this funding will be included in the 2021-22 funding and performance management rules (when published in the spring).

To access funding from August 2021 onwards, Independent Learning Providers with a contract for service and providers that wish to bid for a contract for service to supplement any grant funding can submit a bid under the Education and Skills Funding Agency tender which was launched on 5 February 2021 and closes on 22 March 2021. It will award Adult Education Budget contracts for services for the delivery of education and training, and will also include the level 3 adult offer, to learners resident in non-devolved areas. The contracts will start on 1 August 2021 and run for the 2021-22 academic year.

We plan to consult on the future of the National Skills Fund in spring 2021 to ensure that the fund helps adults learn valuable skills and prepares them for the economy of the future.