“Today’s announcement for fully funded college courses for adults with no level 3 qualifications is a welcome move by Government. As the end of the furlough scheme is fast approaching, it is likely we will be facing a wave of redundancies over the coming months. With it being well known that holding mid or higher-level qualifications can reduce time spent in unemployment, reskilling the workforce is more important than ever.
However, for this scheme to be successful the Government must ensure that the Further Education sector, which has faced significant funding cuts over the last decade, receives the funding necessary to support increased numbers of learners. Government must also go further in tackling the financial barriers to adults engaging with full-time further education by improving maintenance support and reducing Universal Credit restrictions.
The North East’s low qualifications profile and high unemployment rate leaves it vulnerable in the current crisis and makes this funding even more important for our region. As we call for in our Stronger North East campaign, the Government must commit to its levelling up agenda by guaranteeing that the North East is allocated sufficient funding and afforded control of the programme to ensure it is tailored to our region’s skills needs.”
Statement provided by Chamber Policy Adviser, Niamh Corcoran.