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Further Education: Bournemouth East

Question for Department for Education

UIN 35884, tabled on 13 July 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help improve post-18 education options for young people in the Bournemouth East constituency.

Answered on

21 July 2022

The department is continuing to invest in adult education for adults aged 19 and over, through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), which was £1.34 billion in each of the 2019/20, 2020/21, and 2021/22 academic years. 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.

As part of the £2.5 billion National Skills 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.

Eligible learners in Bournemouth aged 19 and over can also take advantage of the free level 3 courses for job offers. Over 400 qualifications are on offer, which have been identified for their strong wage outcomes and ability to meet key skills needs. A list of these qualifications can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/find-a-free-level-3-qualification/list-of-free-level-3-qualifications-available-to-eligible-adults.

Adults can also be supported to access qualifications not included in the free courses for jobs offer through Advanced Learner Loans. Advanced Learner Loans are income-contingent loans that provide extensive coverage of regulated level 3 to level 6 qualifications, helping to meet the up-front tuition fees.

The department also wants to see more people in Bournemouth benefit from apprenticeships that offer high-quality training and opportunities for progression. There are over 640 high-quality, employer-designed apprenticeship standards available in a variety of industries. To support the growth of apprenticeships across the country, we are increasing apprenticeships funding to £2.7 billion by 2024/25.

The department continues to work with employers and providers to develop traineeships that provide clear progression routes for 16 to 24-year-olds, providing an opportunity to further develop skills. These include English, maths, and digital skills, alongside work preparation training and a work placement. It also includes support to help them prepare for progression into an apprenticeship, or another job.

Bournemouth and Poole College is developing new post-18 options for adults and progressing younger students, including shorter higher education (HE) provision, which is more directly linked to immediate careers to support adults who might not normally engage with HE. Around two thirds of the college’s 1,900 apprentices are adults participating across a broad range of sectors. The college will be introducing two new apprenticeship programmes in 2023/24. It will also be creating new engagement and progression strands for under-skilled adults through its recent Strategic Development Fund for investing in electric vehicle charging point training.