Largest investment in adult skills training pledged by combined authority

Steve Rotheram

The largest investment in adult skills training has been pledged by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

It will pump almost £60m into upskilling the area’s workforce by training more than 30,000 residents in a bid to meet the needs of local employers.

As part of the investment, more than £54m will go to further education colleges, local councils and independent providers during the next academic year. An additional £3.7m will fund free level 3 (A-level equivalent) training for people earning under £30,000 a year.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Lifelong learning is an issue that is incredibly close to my heart, not least because I know the life-changing impact it can have on a person’s life.

“It helped to take my career on a journey that I would never have thought possible, from bricklayer, to Parliament and now Mayor of the region I love – and I want to give as many people as possible that same chance.”

He added: “Since I became Mayor, we have invested hundreds of millions of pounds into adult education. This latest announcement is our biggest investment yet and will help to give tens of thousands more residents access to the support and training they need to build a successful career for themselves. It’s proper levelling up in action.”

Adult Skills Funding (ASF) – formerly the Adult Education Budget – has been devolved to the combined authority since 2019.

The budget provides around two thirds of the funding each year to grant-funded providers such as colleges and local authorities and the remaining third via contracted providers delivering in a current five-year commissioning cycle.

It also sets aside funding through the pioneering Test and Learn programme which allows the combined authority to experiment with new projects.

The approach in the past has included courses to train FE tutors, engage refugees and asylum seekers in practical English and green skills for the construction industry.

During 2022/23, the ASF supported 35,480 students with 75% of learners living in disadvantaged areas.

The new, ringfenced funding from the Department for Education will also help people earning less than £30,000 a year to learn new skills.