Adult skills on the rise in West Yorkshire
The Mayor’s £65 million devolved Adult Education Budget (AEB) prioritises funding to upskill people in the region’s most disadvantaged communities.
21 March 2023
Tens of thousands of people across the region have boosted their skills by taking up training courses provided by the West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin, according to new figures.
The findings published by West Yorkshire Combined Authority reveal that in the first year since the Mayor took control of the adult education budget, 43,000 adults enrolled on at least one training course. This represents a six per cent rise - during the 2021-22 academic year - compared to the previous 12 months.
Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said:
“We want to create a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire and that means giving people the skills they need to succeed.
“Devolution is providing us with the freedom to make this happen, by allowing us to support those who need it most and boost skilled workforces to help our local businesses and the economy to thrive.”
The Mayor’s £65 million devolved Adult Education Budget (AEB) prioritises funding to upskill people in the region’s most disadvantaged communities. It is already having an impact in the most acutely deprived neighbourhoods, where adult learners increased from 37% to 41% following devolution.
The overall rise in learners coincides with eligibility being expanded to provide greater access to free training for those earning up to the real living wage, rather than the minimum wage. 2,000 more people on a low income enrolled in comparison to the previous year.
Uptake also grew among minority groups, with the proportion of non-white learners rising from 43% to 52% year on year, compared with 34% nationally for the same period.
Participation in basic skills courses such as English and maths increased by 33%, and digital was the fastest growing subject area, with course enrolments rising by 78%.
Figures were released ahead of the Combined Authority’s Employment and Skills Committee, which takes place this week.
Businesses are also benefitting, thanks to the Mayor focusing investment to tackle skill and labour shortages in specialist sectors such as construction, engineering and manufacturing. To help solve the regional bus driver shortage, the fully funded ‘Route to Success’ programme leads learners directly into employment once qualified.
Thousands of courses are available at over 450 locations across West Yorkshire, providing access for residents to gain vital skills needed for career entry and progression.
The AEB Impact Report is available to download here.