Work and Skills

New funding plans for adult education and skills training vital to coronavirus recovery

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THOUSANDS of people across Greater Manchester are set to benefit from £96m worth of skills training, after funding plans were approved for the next year of the Adult Education Budget (AEB).

The plans will also be a vital element of the recovery package for the city-region in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a meeting on Friday 29 May, leaders agreed the funding plan for the period throughout 2020–2021, which sets out the direction and focus of adult education and training across Greater Manchester for the next academic year.

Under the plans, training will be made available to enable staff to return safely to the workplace following the lockdown, and there will be steps taken to reduce the gap in key worker vacancies across the city-region by linking in with the EmployGM job-matching service (opens new page).

The AEB supports residents across Greater Manchester to develop the skills they need for work and life through enrolling on a wide range of courses at local colleges and training providers. Control was transferred from central government to Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) from August 2019, and will support up to 75,000 of the city-region’s residents during its first year of devolution.

The funding has also ensured employers can access the skilled workforce needed across the city-region before, during, and after the COVID-19 Pandemic, by enabling the provider base to respond quickly to the changing skills needs of employers and residents, including furloughed workers and those at risk of redundancy.

Councillor Sean Fielding, Portfolio Lead for Digital, Education, Skills, Work & Apprenticeships said: “I’m pleased to see the proposed approach for the Adult Education Budget for the 2020/2021 academic year has been approved.

“The devolution of the budget has allowed us to bring different funding streams to work together much more closely, and has enabled us in our first year to drive better outcomes generally for our city-region, in particular for some of our more vulnerable residents. The approved plan ensures that this work will carry on in to the next academic year, helping residents get the help they need to upskill and get better jobs, as well as access other wrap-around support.”

“We know the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on our economy. Adult education and skills training will be integral to supporting Greater Manchester’s recovery, as we help communities, businesses and public services to build back better.”

Residents on furlough or at risk of redundancy due to the outbreak will be able to access targeted support to retrain into new job sectors as part of the development of a Greater Manchester model for a National Retraining Scheme (opens new page). The scheme will help adults retrain to enter employment in key growth and foundation sectors as outlined in Greater Manchester’s Local Industrial Strategy.

The agreed plans include developing a talent pipeline for growing sectors in the Greater Manchester economy – including manufacturing, digital, and clean growth – by linking in with other funding streams, and also ensuring the stability of Greater Manchester foundation sectors such as health and social care and retail.   

Greater Manchester residents have also been encouraged to access The Skills Toolkit (opens new page), a new online learning platform launched by Department for Education which gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses. The new platform will help people build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects whilst staying at home.

Article Published: 30/06/2020 18:39 PM