Over 500,000 people eligible for new adult education funding

People in the West Midlands earning less than £15,726 will be eligible for new adult education funding through a government scheme.

The scheme, which starts in September 2018 and will run initially for one year, means that anyone in that salary band can now get adult education free, when previously they would have had to pay 50% of the costs of any courses they attended.

Many people were deterred from embarking on further education to get better qualifications and improve their prospects because of this unaffordable cost.

Cllr George Duggins, the leader of Coventry Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) portfolio holder for skills and productivity, said: “Affordable adult education is hugely important in getting people out of low paid work and into better paid jobs. There are undoubtedly many people in this region with great potential and wanting to better their qualifications who may have previously been put off by the cost of doing so. Bringing down that cost will help, and by investing in people we invest in our future.”

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “As a region we need to close the output gap between the West Midlands and the rest of the UK. This gap is partly due to the high proportion of residents with low skills and few qualifications – this scheme will help tackle that.”

The Mayor went on to say:” We want to ensure that our residents can benefit from the higher skilled and higher paid jobs that are being created in the region – improving qualification levels of those in low paid jobs will help us to do that.”

According to figures produced by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) there are 531,000 jobs that fall into this category.