Lifelong Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 5th September 2019.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase access to lifelong learning.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Our adult skills system seeks to improve productivity, employment levels and social inclusion. It supports people who are starting out in their careers, those who want to upskill and those who want or need to change careers.

Adult skills and lifelong learning provision includes:

  • Apprenticeships: Our reforms to apprenticeships are benefiting people of all ages and backgrounds, including adults developing their skills. We have given employers the flexibility to offer apprenticeships to both new recruits and existing staff, supporting the creation of quality workplace training opportunities and life-long learning.
  • Adult Education Budget (AEB) funded provision: The AEB fully funds or co-fund skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3 (including traineeships) to help them gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. It also enables flexible tailored programmes of learning to be made available which do not need to include a qualification.
  • From 1 August 2019, approximately half of the AEB has been devolved to 6 Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and the Mayor of London acting through the Greater London Authority (GLA). From this date the MCAs and GLA can use the devolved AEB to shape education and skills provision in a way that best fits the needs of their residents and local economy. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will be responsible for funding AEB learners resident in non-devolved areas.
  • Part-time higher education (HE) provision: Flexible and part-time HE has a key role in terms of widening choice and participation in HE for adults.
  • The National Retraining Scheme: The National Retraining Scheme is a new programme which is currently being developed as part of the government’s answer to the transforming world of work. The National Retraining Scheme will help prepare adults for the future changes to the economy, including those brought about by automation, and help them retrain into better jobs.
  • Advanced Learner Loans support clear routes into work, progression within work and progression to higher education, by providing fees support for level 3 to level 6 qualifications. Access to multiple Advanced Learner Loans enables adults to progress or re-skill.
  • European Social Fund (ESF) funded provision: The ESF is an EU programme that delivers £3 billion (over 7 years) of employment/training provision to support those furthest from learning and the labour market. DfE and ESFA are one of several Co-Financing Organisations that procure provision on behalf of Local Enterprise Partnerships and deliver on average £150 million of skills provision per annum. Provision is a mixture of regulated and unregulated employment and skills courses with a strong focus on additional and ‘wraparound’ support (for example, employability skills, confidence building, mentoring to overcome personal barriers to learning and/or employment).

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