“It is right that courses should target employers but they also must respond to the needs of different local areas, with a strong role for councils, combined authorities as well as colleges."
Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of an expansion of the training and skills system to help the country recover from coronavirus, Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s People & Places Board, said:
“Our economic recovery depends on people being able to retrain and learn the skills they need for the future, therefore it is good that significant support will be offered including free Level 3 courses for those who want to start new roles and occupations, which we have been calling for.
“Using the National Skills Fund to fund this is a step in the right direction. Flexible loans will be helpful for some, but may not be the best way of encouraging adults to go back into learning.
“Retraining must be supported by a good mix of local providers including colleges, independent training providers, and council-run adult education centres, which can join up and offer a clear pathway to further learning and work.
“It is right that courses should target employers but they also must respond to the needs of different local areas, with a strong role for councils, combined authorities as well as colleges. The upcoming Spending Review is an opportunity to devolve and further target funding for people and places.”
The LGA’s ‘Work Local’ is an integrated and devolved employment and skills system. This should be used as a blueprint for a skills and employment devolution that works for all people and places. This could for a medium sized combined authority, lead to additional fiscal benefits for a local area of £280 million per year, with a benefit to the economy of £420 million. This would be associated with an additional 8,500 people leaving benefits, an additional 3,600 people achieving Level 2 skills, and an additional 2,100 people achieving Level 3.