William Eichler 11 November 2022

Council leaders call for reversal of adult education cuts

Council leaders call for reversal of adult education cuts image
Image: Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock.com.

Local authority leaders have called on the Government to use next week’s Autumn Statement to reverse proposed cuts to community learning courses.

The adult education budget has been halved in recent years and is set to be reformed into a new skills fund, which the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned could see a reduction in courses such as family learning, healthy eating or learning digital skills.

Ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement, the LGA reiterated its warning that any reduction to adult education will reduce local options for people looking to increase their skills and undermine the prospects of future economic growth.

A report by the Heseltine Institute for the LGA, published today, also sets out how the national approach to adult skills is too fragmented and complex for learners and employers to navigate.

The LGA said that councils and combined authorities are best placed to join this up and fill the gaps.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board, said: ‘Growing the economy will not be easily achieved if we cannot provide the routes to jobs of the future.

‘Our rapidly changing labour market means we need to be investing more now to give people the right skills and qualifications to keep up with demand, whether it be in new green technologies or providing the next generation of teachers, nurses and care workers.

‘Every area has its own unique mix of jobs, qualification levels, unemployment and vacancies, which a one-size-fits-all national approach to tackling our looming skills deficit will not solve.

‘Councils know their areas best and need the right funding and powers to help prepare a workforce fit for the future. This includes extending to all councils the ability to fully manage adult education budgets in their areas.

‘Providing people with the means to upskill and increase their opportunities, including encouraging older people and those with little or no qualifications into work, will be ultimately how we boost growth, spread prosperity and help to level up the country.’

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