The Sheffield College welcomes government’s adult skills funding pledge

1st October 2020

The Sheffield College has welcomed a new government pledge to invest in adult education as part of a skills led recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.

This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke about the vital role of further education colleges as he announced changes to the adult education system.

  • Adults in England without an A Level or equivalent qualification will be offered a free, fully funded college course.
  • Funding for courses offering skills valued by employers will be made available from April 2021.
  • Higher education loans will be made more flexible and reforms will be backed by continued investment in college buildings and facilities.
  • There will be more training funding for small and medium sized enterprises and flexibility about how apprenticeship levy paying employers can use their funds.

Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal, The Sheffield College, said: “Further education colleges are on the frontline, training young people and adults in the skills to go further in their careers and that employers urgently need for sustainable growth. We welcome the recognition of this and the need to encourage people of all ages to continue to gain higher level skills over their lifetime.”

She added: “We have a diverse student community who include some of the most disadvantaged in our city. The further education sector has been underfunded for a decade at a time when funding stability is vital to enable our students to benefit from world class learning regardless of their background or where they live.

“We will be seeking reassurances that FE colleges on an Ofsted improvement journey, such as ours, are eligible for this funding to ensure our communities have equal access to these opportunities.”

During the last academic year 2019/20, around 14,467 students and apprentices studied at the College. Of those learners, 2,757 were apprentices. There were 4,724 students aged 16 to 18 (the majority of whom studied full-time) and 6,986 adults.

Sheffield City Region employers comprise predominantly small to medium sized enterprises. The College is the largest provider of apprenticeships in the city and region, supporting approximately 900 employers and 2,750 apprentices on 130 apprenticeship programmes. 

Ms Foulkes added: “We welcome and encourage a more flexible approach to use of apprenticeship levy funding, and a simplification of the process, so that people of all ages can access apprenticeship training and other recognised forms of training particularly in small to medium sized enterprises.”

Recent research has shown that in 2017/18, former College apprentices employed in the Sheffield City Region workforce contributed £9.2 million in added income. Employers, according to the EMSI research commissioned by the College, receive £1.30 in return for every £1 invested in the College’s apprentices, as those apprentices become more competent, skilled and productive.

The College provides apprenticeships across a range of sectors including horticulture, childcare, business administration, sales, engineering, catering, pharmacy and human resources. Visit www.sheffcol.ac.uk or call 0114 2602600. Follow @SheffCol @ShefColEmployer

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