THOUSANDS of people in Greater Manchester are benefitting from the locally funded skills training following the devolution of the £92 million Adult Education Budget (AEB).

Since August 2019 Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has supported more than 29,000 residents across Greater Manchester to develop the skills needed for work and life by enrolling them on a range of courses.

The funding has also ensured that employers can access the skilled workforce needed for businesses across the city-region to grow and thrive.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Since August we have made great progress in ensuring our residents are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to succeed in our city-region’s growing economy.

“Devolution is allowing us to move forward in Greater Manchester to deliver the best possible outcome for residents and businesses by creating a fully integrated and seamless lifelong learning experience that benefits everyone.”

Enrolments so far this year have been across a range of different sectors, including Health, Public Service and Care, Construction and Information and Communication Technology.

GMCA Work and Skills lead Councillor Sean Fielding said: “Greater Manchester’s Local Industrial Strategy focuses on people and ensuring we have good quality jobs so that people can succeed.

“The devolved AEB allows us to get Greater Manchester residents upskilled, encouraging them to keep moving forward and provide inspiration to the next generation.

“I believe we can make a huge difference here and set the standard for the rest of the country.”

The devolved powers for Greater Manchester has meant a range of significant changes to the way adult skills for learners over the age of 19 are delivered in Greater Manchester are well underway. Some of these include:

  • Free education and training for all residents in the city-region who are currently without a Level 2 qualification – this will ensure all residents can access essential skills regardless of their age or employment status without a potential barrier of fees
  • Free learning for employed residents earning below the national living wage – previously residents employed with low or no qualifications would only be entitled to fee remission if they earned below the national minimum wage
  • Free British Sign Language (BSL) course for residents whose first language is BSL. This brings BSL in line with comparable entitlements in English where previously they would not have been eligible for funding on the same basis
  • Funding units of advanced training and education at Level 3 provided – particularly linked to the city-region’s key priority sectors

Article Published: 18/12/2019 09:32 AM