Record levels of people of all ages and backgrounds are in employment in Cornwall. That is good news as we know that good work is good for our health and wellbeing. Thanks to the government’s introduction of the Living Wage, increases in the minimum wage and increases in the personal allowance, people on the lowest wages are seeing their incomes rise well ahead of inflation. While the majority of jobs created since 2010 are full time, permanent jobs, there is still more to be done to enable people to make progress in work.
For people who have been working for sometime, it is all too easy for skills not to keep pace with change. People sometimes tell me that they would like to change careers but don’t know how to get the necessary qualifications or don’t know how they can fit learning and earning into their busy lives. It can be difficult to learn new skills enabling a change of career and occupation.
For people who have taken time out to care for adults or children, getting back into work can feel daunting. I remember that feeling!
Since being elected in 2010, I have been making the case to Ministers that we need to do more to help more adults back into the classroom. I was pleased that last week a new £11.7million fund investing in a range of projects to help more adults access learning new skills has been announced.
The Flexible Learning Fund will support 32 innovative projects across England to encourage more people to take part in new training or courses that will help them progress in current employment or secure a new job.
Projects are aimed at a range of skill levels – teaching beginners all the way through to those who already have a good understanding of a topic. Exciting projects include supporting IT users to gain new skills in cyber security, training older workers and people whose jobs are affected by the need for greater digital skills, and increasing the maths skills and confidence of adults already in work.
It can be difficult for people to fit training around their busy lives. This funding aims to find out how education providers and employers can work together to better meet the needs of adults of all ages, who want the opportunity to learn important new skills and change their lives. To break the barriers that prevent adults from returning to learning, on-line learning environments will be funded to deliver a wide range of qualifications, for example Health and Social Care leadership qualifications in flexible and accessible ways.
National Numeracy will work with 6 partners including the John Lewis Partnership, Civil Service Learning and KPMG to deliver basic numeracy skills via an online delivery method either with employers or through direct digital engagement with learners. The project will be aimed at those in work who are looking to upskill and gain confidence in numeracy.
Access to great learning opportunities are essential for people throughout our lives.
First published in the West Briton 29/03/18