Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (4 March) hailed a new £2.7million pot of cash which will give adults the chance to secure their first qualification equivalent to two A Levels.
The money will give any adult aged 24 or over who does not currently possess a qualification to such a standard – known as “Level 3” qualifications – access to hundreds of fully funded courses in order that they may work towards obtaining a higher level award, which is also equivalent to a technical certificate or diploma.
Those aged 19-23, whose first qualification is funded by the region’s devolved Adult Education Budget, will also be eligible for additional qualifications under the scheme.
The courses, part of Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, will be available in key sectors for the region, including engineering, construction and health and social care plus many more.
They aim to give adults, whether in work or unemployed, the skills businesses need to succeed in industries vital to help the UK’s recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. They will help to start delivering skills directly linked to the jobs being created as part of yesterday’s Spring Budget announcements such as those opportunities stemming from Teesside’s Freeport and the Treasury's move to establish a Northern campus in Darlington.
The move comes just days after it was confirmed that the region would also receive a devolved Adult Education Budget of £30.5million, which will be used alongside wider devolved powers to support training in local priority sectors, and to support local people back into employment.
Mayor Houchen said: “I’m delighted we’re able to secure this funding which, like our Adult Education Budget, comes only because we agreed to have an elected mayor.
“We already have brilliant colleges and training providers helping to give adults the expertise they need to succeed and the skills our businesses are crying out for, but this goes further. It gives people their much-needed first step on the path to a rewarding career, with these qualifications opening up masses of opportunities to get a well-paid job and putting more money in their pockets for them and their families.
“As we recover from the coronavirus pandemic, this funding will target the sectors that need it the most, giving them a shot in the arm and helping them to thrive thanks to a skilled workforce. There will be courses to suit everyone when they become available next month, and I’d urge those who want to gain a qualification to check them out.”
Cllr Bob Cook, Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet Lead for Education, Employment and Skills said: “I’ve seen first-hand the impact that our adult education offer is having across the region and heard inspiring stories of people whose lives have changed as a result of taking up training or education.
“This extra support will help even more people into good jobs or to progress their careers, benefitting our local people, businesses and the whole region.”
For more information and for a full list of providers in April, www.teesvalley-ca.gov.uk/adult-education-budget