Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd October 2020.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to make academic qualifications more accessible for adults.

Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to remove barriers to online education courses for adults.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Adult skills?are?key in supporting the economy and tackling disadvantage. The government is aware of the barriers adults can face when looking to learn, upskill or retrain such as cost, time, lack of flexibility, poor experiences of education and a lack of awareness of the need to upskill or retrain.

We are continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the £1.34 billion Adult Education Budget (AEB). The principal purpose of the AEB is to engage adults and provide the skills and learning they need to equip them for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. This includes fully funded courses in English and mathematics for adults who need to improve their literacy and numeracy, fully funded first full level 2 and/or level 3 for learners aged 19 to 23 and from 1 August 2020, fully funded specified digital skills qualifications for adults with no/low digital skills.

Starting this Parliament, we are providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations), for the National Skills Fund to help adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future. The fund aims to boost productivity and presents a great opportunity to create a more coherent and simpler system that learners, providers, local areas and employers can understand and navigate.

To equip people to use digital tools and to adapt to the social distancing measures of COVID-19, the government launched The Skills Toolkit in April 2020. This offers a wide range of online digital and numeracy courses for all skills levels including courses such as Everyday Maths and an introductory 70 hour course on coding. Courses are available for free to the public, offering an opportunity for individuals to upskill and build on their CV. We want the range of the courses on offer to grow significantly and will therefore be launching an expanded platform shortly. More information on The Skills Toolkit is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-free-online-learning-platform-to-boost-workplace-skills.

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