Training: Elderly

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform written question – answered on 1st April 2008.

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Photo of John Cummings John Cummings Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many people aged over 50 years took up training schemes offered through his Department in Easington constituency in each of the last five years.

Photo of Bill Rammell Bill Rammell Minister of State (Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education), Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

I have been asked to reply.

The following table shows the total number of learners aged 50 and over in Easington constituency for the latest five years for which information is available (numbers have been rounded).

LSC funded adult learners (on further education provision, Train to Gain and Adult and Community Learning)
Academic year Number
2002-03 1,740
2003-04 2,170
2004-05 2,370
2005-06 1,920
2006-07 1,350

Overall Government investment in the further education sector has increased by 52 per cent. in real terms between 1997 and 2007. Participation funding for adults will increase to around £3.6 billion in 2010-11, an increase of over 17 per cent. compared with 2007-08.

We have continued to realign funding towards basic literacy and numeracy, full level 2 and full level 3 qualifications providing skills for employment and further progression in learning away from, for example, very short or low quality courses. This has enabled us to support significant increases in participation for young people and adults in these key programmes, providing them with the education and skills they need to fully participate in an economically successful and socially cohesive society.

This Department and the LSC are working closely with the Department of Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus to implement the proposals outlined in "World Class Skills: Implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England" and the Green Paper, "In Work, better off," both published in July this year. These include supporting individuals, including older workers into sustainable employment and progression in work and in skills.

In line with this we are working with employers through Train to Gain and the Skills Pledge to meet skill needs and to ensure that all employees including older people have the basic skills, including literacy and numeracy and Level 2 skills (equivalent to five good GCSEs) needed to sustain and progress in employment. To support this we are increasing funding for Train to Gain from £440 million in 2007-08 to over £900 million in 2010-11. We want to encourage all employers in England to make a Skills Pledge that is a specific promise that every eligible employee will be helped to gain basic skills, and a full Level 2 qualification.

We recognise the importance of FE and adult learning in meeting a range of social and community needs and remain fully committed to ensuring that older learners can benefit from a wide range of learning opportunities, including learning for its own sake, for personal fulfilment and to sustain an active role in the community. In addition we have committed £210 million per annum until 2010-11 to safeguard learning opportunities for personal fulfilment, community development and active citizenship.

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