Funding for courses at level 2 and below will be increased for London residents from next year, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced.
The adult education funding uplift, set to cost £10 million, was announced by Sadiq Khan alongside measures to widen eligibility by removing the three-year residency requirement to access funded courses.
A wave of adult education and skills announcements this morning coincides with a visit to Ingeus in Hackney, where Khan will join an employability session for Afghan refugees taking part in the Work and Health Programme.
The mayor’s boost to AEB funding rates at level 2 and below equates to a 3.5 per cent increase. The Greater London Authority has said the extra funding will help address increasing costs faced by the FE workforce, as well as meeting the needs of lower skilled Londoners.
“Many Londoners are struggling as the cost of living continues to rise,” Khan said.
“This new funding and these changes to the adult education programme will help to ensure that we are building a better London for everyone – a safer, fairer and more prosperous city for all Londoners.”
The mayor’s existing AEB rules will also change to remove the requirement for learners to proove they are in receipt of state benefits. This, alongside removing the three-year residency requirement, will allow an extra 400,000 learners to access courses.
News of increased funding rates for London’s FE and skills providers has been welcomed by the Association of Colleges.
“The £10 million increase in funding for courses at level 2 and below will ease some of the financial pressures providers are facing due to rising inflation and help them to continue to support Londoners,” said Mary Vine-Morris, the AoC’s area director for London.
This comes as 33 colleges are in disputes with the University and College Union over pay and workload, including five colleges in the capital. Strike ballots close today.
Londoners will also have access to funded non-prescribed vocational and technical qualifications at level 4, as well as funding to cover the costs of certain license to practice accreditations in the hospitality and construction industries.
The mayor has announced that learners seeking the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (Labourer) and the Security Industry Authority (SIA) license, which accredits security guards, will have their training costs covered.
Unemployed learners and those in low-paid employment will also have access to fully funded British Sign Language courses.
“These latest reforms will help more people, including some of the most disadvantaged in society, access fully funded skills provision and get the training they need to get on in life, thrive in the world of work and boost their skills,” Vine-Morris said.
Just over £2 million will be made available for a new programme called ‘No Wrong Door’ which will fund ‘integration hubs’ across the capital to target employment and skills support at those most in need, such as refugees, women, disabled people and over 50s.
“It was brilliant to meet some of the Afghan refugees at Ingeus today and I’m glad we can offer such a wide range of fully funded courses and training to people in various stages of their adult education journey” Khan said.