Devolution of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) formed a landmark agreement within Greater Manchester’s ground-breaking devolution deal. GMCA will assume responsibility for ensuring high quality adult education is available across the city-region from 1st August 2019 for the 2019/20 academic year.
The Adult Education Budget is a single funding stream replacing what had previously been three separate budget lines: Adult Skills Budget, Community Learning and Discretionary Learner Support. It is one part of a much wider education and skills landscape, the majority of which is not devolved but will be retained by central government and its agencies, including Apprenticeships and Traineeships for learners of all ages, 16-18 activity, technical and higher education, offender learning and student loans.
The principal purpose of this budget is to engage adults and provide skills and learning needed to equip them for work, an Apprenticeship or further learning. To fully realise its impact, Greater Manchester’s devolved AEB will provide a service which supports access to the local labour market and future economic development. In particular, it will focus on ensuring adults have the basic and core skills they need for work, supporting residents to progress to further learning and / or employment, including Apprenticeships and technical education.
In Greater Manchester, we want to work closely with providers to ensure a high quality adult skills offer is available across the city-region, which focuses on achieving positive outcomes for individuals and progression, helping residents to improve their employability and quality of life and ensuring that GM employers can access the skills their businesses need to grow and thrive.
Devolution of the AEB must be seen as the start of a journey towards creating a local skills strategy to support Greater Manchester’s overarching ambitions for its residents and employers and our emerging Local Industrial Strategy. However, it is only one part of the jigsaw; GMCA is keen to ensure that, over time, it delivers on its crucial role in securing the skills that employers require, delivering better outcomes for residents and aligning the devolved AEB with other reform initiatives, including GM Working Well (Work & Health Programme). It will also have link with other skills budgets accessed by providers, including the European Social Fund (ESF) and in the future the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (as successor funding to ESF).
GMCA wishes to ensure that the AEB market in GM is open to high quality providers of all kinds (including partnerships / alliances of providers and their supply chains) which want to build strong, place-focused relationships with the GMCA and with businesses and learners across GM, in order to provide the best value and impact for residents through alignment with the wider skills and employment system.