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Question for Department for Education

UIN 148308, tabled on 28 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will reintroduce Government Training Centres to help adults with learning new work skills.

Answered on

5 April 2022

The government has already put in place a wide range of opportunities for adults to gain the skills they need for employment. We are delivering the Lifetime Skills Guarantee to allow adults to upskill and reskill at different points in their life.

Provision for adults is available to learners across the country through a range of providers, including further education colleges and independent learning providers.

The department invests in education and skills training for adults through the adult education budget (AEB) (£1.34 billion in academic year 2021/22), which fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to help them gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship, or further learning.

The AEB also funds colleges and training providers to help adult learners to overcome barriers which prevent them from taking part in learning. This includes Learner Support, to support learners with a specific financial hardship, and Learning Support to meet the additional needs of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

We are investing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) in the National Skills Fund. This is a significant investment and has the potential to deliver new opportunities to generations of adults who may have been previously left behind.

We are investing £1.6 billion through the Fund in the next three years, on top of the £375 million already committed in financial year 2021/22. This is funding the free courses for jobs offer, which gives eligible adults the chance to access their first level 3 qualifications for free. In addition, we have recently announced that from April, any adult in England earning under the National Living Wage annually (£18,525) or unemployed, will also be able to access these qualifications for free, regardless of their prior qualification level.

Complementing this support for adults through the fund, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with an employer.

There will also be opportunities for adults across the whole of the UK to develop their numeracy skills through the Multiply programme, supported by £560 million across the next three years funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. This means that wherever people live, and whatever stage of life they are at, they will be able to access training and education that gives them the skills that employers want and can lead to good jobs and career progression.

There have been over 5 million apprenticeship starts since May 2010. Since 2015, we have transformed apprenticeships into a prestigious option that better meets the skills needs of employers across the country. There are currently over 640 high-quality, industry designed standards available and we are aiming to continue to improve and grow apprenticeships, so more employers and individuals can benefit from them. We are making apprenticeships more flexible for employers in all sectors and creating new pathways for high-quality employment.