£1m awarded for free adult education courses

Adults back in the classroom

Stock photo of adults back in the classroom as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority receives £1m funding towards Level 3 courses for those aged 24 and over. - Credit: Archant

Free adult education courses will made available across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, thanks to £1m funding from the Department for Education.

The investment will be aimed at those aged 24 and over studying a Level 3 course, which is seen as the equivalent of an A-level qualification.

Funds have been awarded to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and over 400 courses in 20 different sector subjects areas will be available.

Mayor James Palmer said: “I have always been clear that I want to increase the proportion of residents upskilled to Level 3 because we know there is a strong correlation between Level 3 skills, productivity, and social mobility.

“The gains for a Level 3 qualification equate to a 20 per cent increase in average wages and a 14 per cent increase in employment prospects.

“This funding will allow us to accelerate Level 3 delivery, across the region particularly within the growth sectors of our economy which will help us to build back after the pandemic.”

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James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. - Credit: Archant

Those currently aged 24 and over must either self-fund, take out an Advanced Learner Loan to fund their learning or finance their learning through employer sponsorship.

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Across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the proportion of residents qualified to Level 3 is higher than the national average at 60.1 per cent compared to 58.5 per cent nationally.

While the region as a whole is above the national average, Fenland and Peterborough are below.

In Fenland specifically, 45 per cent of residents are qualified to Level 3.

Mayor Palmer added: “Key to achieving this [delivery of Level 3 courses] will be how we target funding into deprived areas and incentivise colleges and providers to work with communities who need the most support.

“We want to ensure people have the qualifications they need to unlock their potential, wherever they are in the region.”

The Level 3 subject areas the government has identified as being beneficial to the economy include: accounting and finance, agriculture, building and construction, engineering, health and social care, ICT, manufacturing technologies, medicine and dentistry, nursing and warehousing and distribution.