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Have your say on improvements to adult education spending


Have your say on improvements to adult education spending

Improvements to how the adult education budget for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is spent are being consulted on from this week.

The Combined Authority has had devolved responsibility for the region’s £12 million adult education budget since September 2019. The budget funds a range of adult learning and training courses run by colleges, local councils and independent training providers.

The public, the education sector and employers are being consulted on changes to adult education as well as being asked how it can be improved. The feedback will be used to inform spending, with the aim of continuously improving the effectiveness of adult education in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.

The online consultation survey page can be found at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority – Adult Education Budget Annual Consultation (smartsurvey.co.uk). The consultation runs from Wednesday, February 16, 10am, until March 16 at 10am.

Changes to adult education spending being consulted on include:

  • A plan to double the number of level 3 qualifications (equivalent to A-level/NVQ level 3) over the next four years. Level 3 qualifications currently make up 1 per cent of all adult education budget spend and the proposal is to increase it to 10 per cent.
  • Allowing delivery of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses in the workplace, which makes courses more accessible and leads to better outcomes than in other settings.
  • Plans to support veterans of the armed forces with skills needed for increased job and career prospects.
  • Ways to encourage greater participation in adult education, including people on low incomes and Care Leavers. This includes the earnings threshold at which courses can be offered at no cost to the learner.

Since devolution, the Combined Authority has reshaped adult education spending to focus more on giving people the skills they need to secure jobs and advance in their careers. There has been increased spending in areas in the region where levels of skills are at their lowest, especially Fenland and Peterborough.

The Combined Authority has also been using its budget in a flexible, innovative and responsive way, based on local need. For example last year it funded HGV driver training in response to the widely-publicised shortages in the sector.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said: “The benefit of a devolved adult education budget is that we can listen, learn and adapt our service to the needs of the local community. This consultation is about understanding how we can make the best impact with the money we have.

“We are still only halfway through our third year of devolution and the progress so far shows we are making a real difference to people’s lives, especially for those who have most to gain from greater skills and learning.

“I encourage anyone who is interested in the future of adult education in the region to take part and have your say. Your views will help us to continue to make adult education work better.”