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Adult Education Budget

Devolution of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) from 1st August 2019 has enabled the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority to take responsibility for delivering high quality Adult Education in the local area.

Our four week adult education budget consultation on changes to adult education spending consulted on include:

  • A plan to double the number of level 3 qualifications (equivalent to A-level/NVQ Level 3) over the next 4 years. Lev el 3 qualifications currently make up 1 per cent of all adult education budget spend and the proposal is to increase it to 10%
  • 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
The Consultation Analysis will be available shortly.

Lifelong Learning For All

We’re working to ensure Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is an amazing place to live and to work.  To support the ambition, we want all residents in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to have access to motivating and inspiring learning opportunities throughout their life. Adult education has a vital role to play.

We work closely with colleges, training providers, local councils and employers to ensure a wide range of high-quality education and training courses are available for adults to retrain and upskill at any age.  Courses will help residents to:

  • gain valuable qualifications and skills that boost employment prospects, increase incomes, and help more people share prosperity
  • accelerate promotion at work and progression to courses at Level 2 and 3 or to higher education
  • build confidence, self-esteem and community connection through volunteering
  • improve health and wellbeing through enriching learning opportunities

Read our Devolution Report here

Find a Course

Use our Find A Course search tool to see what’s on offer near you or download our latest Adult Learning Offer. Use the links below to take you to college and provider websites for the latest course information and to enrol.  If you can’t find the course you’re looking for, check if it’s funded here.


Adult Education Budget

Education and training courses for adults aged 19+ in England are funded through the Adult Education Budget (AEB). From August 2019, this was devolved by central Government to the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority. This means we can decide locally how we spend and use the £11.9m budget that we get every year to improve opportunities and life chances of residents.


Our Colleges  

The following colleges run a diverse selection of courses for adults, including technical and professional courses. Many are fully funded through our AEB:

Our Adult Learning Services

Our local councils run 100s of free courses from various venues in the community across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, including the library network, community centres as well as online learning. Some of these courses are funded through the AEB. We work with:

Our Independent Training Providers

Local training providers we help fund run a wide range of courses from local centres and online:

Entitlements to learning.

If you are a resident of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and aged 19+ you may be eligible for be fully funded courses, if you fall into the categories below:

  • You do not have a full Level 2 (equivalent to five GCSEs grade A*-C or Grades 4-9) or full Level 3 qualification (equivalent to 2 A Level passes or , you are eligible for fully funded Level 2 or Level 3 qualifications.
  • You have not passed English and maths, up to and including Level 2 (GCSE Grade 4 or C)

Our Priorities for AEB

Our vision is for the devolution of AEB to be ‘best in class’ of all devolved regions in England. We published our Local Industrial Strategy and Regional Skills Strategy which identifies the challenges and opportunities for increasing and spreading wealth and prosperity more evenly across the region.  Our strategic intent is to:

  1. Improve life chances and increase the social mobility of all our residents
  2. Improve prosperity for all by increasing productivity of our workforce through upskilling
  3. Enable unemployed residents to reskill and gain good employment
  4. Improve the quality of life through an enriching lifelong learning offer


We will achieve this by:

  • Using AEB funding in our region to focus skills improvements for residents in Fenland, Peterborough and those wards in Cambridgeshire that are within the top 20% most deprived in England
  • Increasing the number of adults qualified to Level 2 and 3. According to analysis by the Centre for Business and Economic Research, the gains for a Level 3 qualification equate to a 20% increase in average wages and a 14% increase in employment prospects.
  • Supporting employers to invest in upskilling their workforce
  • Working in partnership with providers and stakeholders to tailor the skills offer to local employers

Our response to the Covid-19 pandemic

  • During the pandemic our providers worked hard to develop ways of delivering their training offers online, In line with the updated guidance from Government, we have now adapted to be able to offer you a mix of blended learning and face to face where appropriate and safe to do so. Please speak to your provider if you need support with a laptop or tablet device
  • We are focussing AEB to support our regional response to redundancies. For free careers information, advice and guidance, please click here.

Partnership and Governance

With the AEB for our region now controlled locally through the Combined Authority, we are keen to ensure that residents and employers have a say on how we invest this funding.

Our Skills Committee chaired by Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, provides strong local governance and councillors from each district represent their area to ensure residents and businesses benefit from opportunities.  For your local member see the Skills Committee Membership page. Members of the public are welcome to join the Skills Committee as observers and can propose questions to Combined Authority officers and Committee members.

You can also contact us directly. We are always keen to hear from residents, learners, providers and employers, you can email: AEBDevolution@cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk

Collaboration, Co-design, and Flexibilities

Our approach is to work in partnership with our family of colleges and training providers. We value and support the wider role of colleges and providers as key parts of their communities, raising people’s aspirations and improving access to new skills.

We meet regularly with our colleges and providers to discuss performance and opportunities to increase the adult learning offer and improve. One of the benefits of devolution is that we can agree flexibilities to the funding rules for the benefit of our residents and businesses. These flexibilities allow us to meet new and changing adult skills demands from people and employers quickly and effectively. Every year, we consult on our flexibilities and encourage people to share their views.  Our Consultation findings can be found below as well as our current flexibilities.

Our Progress and Success

We are committed to a culture of continuous self-improvement under the Combined Authority’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework. An independent evaluation of AEB is commissioned each year and reports and recommendations can be found below:

2019/20 AEB Evaluation Report

The local offer

AEB Eligibility for Afghan Citizens seeking refuge in the UK


Unlock with Level 3 

European Social Fund


The Skills, Talent, Apprenticeship and Recruitment (STAR) Hub connects learners, employers, parents, schools, colleges, training providers and higher education to create a dynamic skills ‘marketplace’ in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

It provides an online platform combined with a brokerage and facilitation service to better connect learners, employers and skills providers of all kinds. The aim is to be a simple, easy-to-use ‘one-stop shop’, which boosts skills opportunities for all, supporting people, communities and the local economy.

It is funded by the European Social Fund and is provided by the Business Growth Service.


Covid Support Packages


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