Adult Education: Northamptonshire

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 4th March 2014.

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Photo of Andy Sawford Andy Sawford Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to increase the participation of older people in further education in Corby and East Northamptonshire constituency.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Minister for Universities and Science, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Jointly with the Department for Education)

Our approach in Corby and East Northamptonshire is the same as across the country—apprenticeships are an all age programme. Outside of apprenticeships, we want to maintain access to learning for older people and to support this we have introduced advanced learning loans for those aged 24 and above studying at level 3 and 4, to help meet up-front course fees and remove one of the main barriers to learning for older people. Community Learning is also an important part of the wider learning and skills offer, engaging people who are most disadvantaged and furthest from learning such as older people. It is funded through an annual budget of £210 million managed by the Skills Funding Agency and most provision is delivered or commissioned by local authority providers, further education colleges, large voluntary organisations and other providers. As part of our plans for local growth, local enterprise partnerships consider how to drive growth in their local areas and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership has been working on a number of initiatives designed to support skills development, including working with business, education providers and public services to develop a comprehensive skills plan for the county to meet the needs of employers and learners.

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