More than 160,000 adults in training since devolution

More than 159,000 adults have enrolled in training courses in West Yorkshire since the devolution of adult education to West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) in 2022, the authority said on Friday

The authority has invested £198m of devolved funds in courses intended to boost skills and increase opportunities to get into good jobs, and increase the pool of skilled workers in the county. Improving skills has been a key focus of Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin.

Brabin said,  “I want everyone in West Yorkshire to have the chance to unleash their potential – and it’s working. Devolution has given us the freedom to invest in what’s best for our region and support people into real jobs, which simply wouldn’t be possible from Whitehall.

“We know learning and qualifications help people to access better paid jobs, and this is supporting families during a cost of living crisis as we work to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire.”

Brabin and Leeds City Council leader Cllr James Lewis, chair of WYCA’s business, economy and innovation committee, visited a new all-female cohort of trainee telecoms engineers who started training last week.

WYCA said more than 1,200 people have qualified since the telecoms engineer training programme started two years ago. More than £2.5m has been invested in the scheme so far.

Cllr Lewis said, “Access to training that rewards people with good, well-paid jobs should be available to all.

“Working with local businesses, we’re tailoring courses to fill vital roles in the local labour market, and highlighting the importance of a happy, skilled and diverse workforce.

“Devolution has already allowed us to upskill and re-train thousands of adults, and greater devolved powers would give us the opportunity to achieve so much more.”