Updated guidance for education and childcare settings released 06.11.20

In line with the updated guidance for education and childcare settings (link opens in new tab) released from central Government, updated on November 5, GMCA is encouraging our adult skills providers to adhere to national guidelines in order to minimise risks to staff and students during the Covid-19 pandemic and throughout national (and any local) lockdown restrictions.

In order to remain responsive to the needs of local residents and employers, we encourage providers to continue to deliver provision, where possible via online delivery and delivering face-to-face learning where this is needed either on site to enable access to equipment, or where students cannot access remote delivery, this can continue in a Covid-secure way, taking into account the Government guidelines around face coverings and other health and safety measures, as outlined in the guidance released on November 4.

In Greater Manchester, as a devolved area, there is no expectation at present that delivery of adult skills moves solely to online learning or that providers close their doors to face-to-face learning, unless this becomes a national requirement instructed by Public Health England.

GMCA will continue to monitor national changes and guidelines and will update adult skills providers as necessary.


Thousands of adults across Greater Manchester to benefit from locally funded skills training as devolution of the £92 million Adult Education Budget (AEB) moves a step closer.

The AEB, which will transfer from central government to Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) from August, will support tens of thousands of the city-region’s residents every year to develop the skills they need for life and work. Additionally, it will help to ensure that employers can access the skilled workforce needed for businesses across the city-region to grow and thrive.

This latest step forward has seen contracts awarded to a host of organisations that will deliver education and training to Greater Manchester’s adult learners from later in the summer. Courses will range from teaching essential skills that adults need to progress in the world of work or to improve employability, through to acquiring qualifications that will boost career prospects, in particular those working in low paid jobs or in Greater Manchester’s priority sectors, such as Digital and Construction.

Welcoming the latest developments as adult skills devolution draws closer, Cllr Sean Fielding, the GMCA’s portfolio lead for Education, Skills, Work and Apprenticeships, said: “A key priority for us is making sure that every resident of Greater Manchester can meet the challenges and opportunities of the future head-on with the knowledge, skills and resilience they need to build a strong, inclusive economy and communities across all parts of Greater Manchester.

“The Adult Education Budget is a crucial part of the toolkit that will help us with that. We’re delighted that we now know the range of high quality education and training providers that will be with us at the start this long-term journey of change, and we look forward to working with them to deliver the best possible outcomes for learners.”

Devolved control over adult skills enables Greater Manchester to introduce new flexibilities to make it easier for people to access the skills training they need, including access to certain courses free of charge for adults earning less than the national living wage. This goes further than a recent Government trial which provided free training for those on less than the minimum wage and aims to help people with low, or no, qualifications in particular.

Funding will also be made available for adults to undertake units of advanced training and education, particularly linked to priority sectors, a policy change designed to help people progress in work, refresh and update their skills after life events such as career breaks/changes or redundancy.

As well as adult skills funding worth around £92 million a year, devolution agreements with Government have already seen health and social care worth around £6 billion a year transferred to Greater Manchester. 

Greater Manchester also secured devolution of the £52 million Greater Manchester Working Well (Work and Health) Programme, a package of activity and early intervention for people who have been long term unemployed or are at risk of falling out of work, particularly due to poor health and/or disability.

Good progress has already been made since last year’s launch towards the programme’s target; supporting 22,000 people over five-years, having already worked with thousands of the city-region’s residents in the pilot activity and earlier phases.

In total, contracts and grant agreements have been awarded to 36 organisations for AEB delivery in Greater Manchester, with a total of over 80 providers throughout the supply chain. All of Greater Manchester’s further education institutions are now rated Good or Outstanding overall by Ofsted.

With quality as a fundamental consideration of the procurement process, all of the procured contracts have been awarded to organisations that, where recent Ofsted inspection has taken place, ratings of Good or Outstanding were received for their adult education provision.

A link to the list of the organisations that will have funding agreements or contracts with GMCA to deliver AEB funded provision to Greater Manchester residents in 2019/20 can be found here:

List of AEB funded organisations 

Supporting documents

Useful information

For all enquiries about Adult Education Budget please email: AEBEnquiries@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk