We have been working across government to build a package of support measures to boost skills among those who will be hardest hit by the labour market impacts of COVID-19. On 8 July, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor, announced measures across a range of targeted work-based training offers to support people to build the skills they need to get into work in all communities across the country. This amounts to investment of £1.6 billion in employment support schemes, which will substantially expand existing provision. This includes:
Over the course of this Parliament, we are also providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) for a new National Skills Fund to help people learn new skills and prepare for the economy of the future.
The government appreciates the importance of adult education to improving people’s life chances. We will continue to explore options within adult education and will be making decisions on where we may be able to introduce flexibilities to aid the Post-COVID recovery.
In areas where we have devolved the Adult Education Budget (AEB), it is for Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) or the Greater London Authority (GLA) to determine funding arrangements for adult education for their residents. We do, however, appreciate the importance of sharing, and where appropriate, co-ordinating, responses to attempt to ensure that providers, of all types, do not have their funding disrupted as a result of COVID-19. We are continuing to keep MCAs and the GLA updated on our skills response to COVID-19 through weekly telekits.
Devolving the AEB enables MCAs to directly support adults in developing the skills that local employers need, reducing skills shortages, boosting productivity and economic prosperity and improving wellbeing in communities.