Mayor of West Yorkshire endorses £17million fund to support over 7000 adult learners across West Yorkshire

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire met with students and teaching staff at Leeds City College Quarry Hill Campus this week, to mark a £17million Grant funding allocation between West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Luminate Education Group.

Funded by the Adult Education Budget and National Skills Funding, the contract is forecast to offer 7,745 adult learners across West Yorkshire the opportunity to take a funded course and achieve entry level to Level 3 qualifications, providing them with the skills and qualifications needed for entering and sustaining or progressing in work, an apprenticeship, or other further learning.  

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Meeting with Leeds City College has given me even more motivation to keep fulfilling my pledge to prioritise skills and training to ensure everyone in West Yorkshire has the skills they need to secure work.” 

“I’m delighted that we will be able to support so many adults with these funded courses, meaning adult education is accessible to all, no matter what their background is. I will look forward to seeing the successes of our adult learners this year as they gain the skills, qualifications and confidence to secure future employment.” 

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority allocated funding to Luminate Education Group on the basis of their previous work with diverse groups including ethnic minorities, women, the unemployed and adults with learning difficulties or disabilities. 60% of the college's intake of adult learners are drawn from the most deprived neighborhoods across West Yorkshire with ambition to expand its estate into some of the most deprived parts of Leeds. Luminate Education Group have engaged with a higher percentage of these groups than the West Yorkshire average:  

  • 63% of Luminate’s AEB learners were from an ethnic minority compared to the West Yorkshire average of 43% 
  • 69% of adult learners were female 

  • 52% had no qualifications on enrolment compared with the West Yorkshire average of 28% 
  • 47% of Luminate’s learners were unemployed and seeking work compared to the West Yorkshire average of 44% 

The grant funding will support seven training providers including; Leeds City College, Keighley College, Harrogate College, White Rose Academies, Leeds Conservatoire, Leeds Sixth Form College and University Centre Leeds.   

Bill Jones, Deputy CEO at Luminate Education Group and Principal at Leeds City College, said:It was a pleasure to host the Mayor of West Yorkshire at our Leeds City College Quarry Hill campus. As a college, and across Luminate Education Group, we have worked particularly hard on developing a curriculum that responds to the skills needs of the region to prepare young people and adults for the working world. This funding is going to help us continue this work.”   

“We are committed to promoting apprenticeships and prioritising adult learning, which are instrumental in rebuilding the economy as the country recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. It was fantastic to be able to showcase some of our impressive student facilities and discuss our approach to ensuring that we are always inclusive and that no student or apprentice gets left behind when studying with us.”  

“By working in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, it will enable us to continue delivering high quality learning opportunities to all our students and apprentices, particularly our adult learners.”  

Previous to the West Yorkshire Devolution deal, adult skills saw a significant reduction in funding, impacting the training opportunities of many adults across West Yorkshire. Now the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has taken responsibility for the region’s £65million annual Adult Education Budget; funding can be assigned towards skills priorities that have been developed closely with partners including Local Authorities, colleges and employers to ensure funding is used to meet local skills and employment needs. 

Learn more about the Adult Education Budget.