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. 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 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:

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

Our Projects


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


Use our 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.

Learning Facilities

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)

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

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.

The Combined Authority has signed the Care Leavers Covenant. This is a pledge that we are making to provide support for care leavers to help them live independently. As the lead for the Employment and Skills Strategy in the region, our offer is focussed on supporting care leavers with opportunities to enter the world of work through improving skills.

Through our devolved Adult Education Budget (AEB) funded providers such as colleges, for young people aged 19-22 continuing in Further Education we are offering:

  • Care Leavers Bursary of up to £1200 per academic year – to be eligible for the Bursary, students must be a care leaver resident in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority area and enrolled at one of the colleges on an AEB funded course.
  • Free Breakfasts for Care Leavers at selected colleges and providers funded by us for those enrolled there.
  • Independent Living – training and support to help care leavers develop their independent living skills.
  • Financial Literacy – training and support to help Care Leavers with money management and financial planning.
  • Active Travel – *free bi-cycle for eligible young people successfully completing a Cycling Proficiency test
  • Careers Advice and Guidance – enhanced support for care leavers from the National Careers Service.


As an employer we are offering work experience and work shadowing placements at the Combined Authority to support readiness to work. Through our procurement, we are asking contractors to sign-up to the Care Leavers Covenant and also identify bespoke opportunities for care leavers.


The Combined Authority is looking to work with Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council, and wider partners to contribute to the following outcomes from our Care Leaver Covenant, so that care leavers:

  • are better prepared and supported to live independently
  • have improved access to employment, education, and training
  • experience stability in their lives and feel safe and secure
  • have improved access to health and emotional support
  • achieve financial stability.


Further information:

Local Authorities:

Care Leavers Covenant:

Video – The Journey So Far: