Mayor enrols almost 160,000 learners on courses since devolution of adult education

Almost 160,000 people have signed up for training since the Mayor took responsibility for adult education in West Yorkshire.

23 February 2024

  • Almost 160,000 people in West Yorkshire have enrolled on a training course since Tracy Brabin became Mayor
  • Boost for telecoms sector, with 80% progressing into jobs following specialist training
  • Leaders launch ‘Prosperous’ mission of the West Yorkshire Plan

More than 159,000 people have signed up for training in the two years since West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin, took responsibility for adult education in the region, according to new figures.

Since being elected, the Mayor has invested £198 million of devolved funds to launch a wide range of courses aiming to boost skills and opportunities for people to get into good, well-paid jobs.

It’s also supporting West Yorkshire’s labour market and wider economy, creating a greater pool of skilled workers for businesses to recruit from.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said:

“I want everyone in West Yorkshire to have the chance to unleash their potential - and it’s working.

“Devolution has given us the freedom to invest in what’s best for our region and support people into real jobs, which simply wouldn’t be possible from Whitehall.

“We know learning and qualifications help people to access better paid jobs, and this is supporting families during a cost of living crisis as we work to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire."

The news comes as the Mayor and Cllr James Lewis visited an all-female cohort of telecoms engineers who began training this week as part of a drive to boost the widespread skills shortage in the sector.

The Mayor has invested £2.5 million into the telecoms engineer training programme since it was launched in 2021. Over 1,200 people have become qualified as a result, and thanks to collaboration with local businesses, 80% have progressed directly into employment.

Cllr James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Business, Economy and Innovation Committee, said:

“Access to training that rewards people with good, well-paid jobs should be available to all.

“Working with local businesses, we’re tailoring courses to fill vital roles in the local labour market, and highlighting the importance of a happy, skilled and diverse workforce.

“Devolution has already allowed us to upskill and re-train thousands of adults, and greater devolved powers would give us the opportunity to achieve so much more.”

Today’s visit launched the regional mission to deliver the ‘prosperous’ mission of the West Yorkshire Plan, which aims to equip people with the skills they need to secure good, well-paid jobs, and help businesses and communities to thrive.

The collaborative West Yorkshire Plan, launched in June, sets out five missions to boost the region’s progress on jobs, housing, transport, climate and crime.

For more information on adult education opportunities in West Yorkshire, visit

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