Bidding has begun on £6million of North of Tyne funds for improving adult education.
The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) devolved Adult Education Budget will be spent on residents aged 19 and over, to provide them with the skills needed to gain work, qualifications, or an apprenticeship, and to progress once in work.
Just over £6million of the budget is offered to adult education providers whose goals match those of NTCA.
The remainder of the £22m annual Adult Education Budget will be allocated to further education colleges and Local Authorities based in and around the North of Tyne area.
Mayor Jamie Driscoll said supporting adult education had never been more important.
“Learning enriches people’s lives,” he said.
“We have to make it as easy as possible for everyone to pursue their ambitions in work and in life – whatever their age.
“ Lifelong learning equips people to acquire new skills and knowledge. It increases job chances and enhances life opportunities.
“This devolved budget allows decisions about adult education to be made locally, rather than from London.
“We will grasp this opportunity to build an education system that works for us; bespoke to our area and our people’s needs.”
The offer will allow NTCA to make an immediate and positive impact on adult education opportunities in Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside.
NTCA cabinet lead for employability and inclusion Cllr Joyce McCarty said gaining devolved control of the adult education budget presented a huge opportunity.
Cllr Joyce McCarty said: “Our devolution deal is all about people and using every penny to improve their life chances, so I welcome this multi-million-pound boost to adult education.
“Success will be measured by how quickly and effectively we distribute this money to the point of need which is why our partners in adult education have such an important role to play.
“Our collaborative approach is the right approach and will help people reach their full potential with all the wider benefits it has for society.
“We want to do as much as we can for as many people as possible.”
Delegates from further education colleges, independent training providers and other adult education experts saw the vision for the NTCA Adult Education Budget at a procurement event at Newcastle’s Life Science Centre.
They heard NTCA is committed to making Northumberland, Newcastle, and North Tyneside a hotbed of talent, where everybody is given the opportunity to thrive.
Spending on adult education will make it more likely residents can attain a fair wage and gain good jobs with continued skills development and training available once in work.
NTCA has pledged to work with businesses and community organisations to change pay and conditions so that this may happen.
North Tyneside Council procurement officer Judith Robson, who will be running the procurement exercise for NTCA, said funding opportunities would be advertised on the NEPO Portal.
“This is a new opportunity,” she said. “It’s changing the way we look at adult education.”
NEPO systems officer Sarah Marshall said NEPO offered training sessions for organisations preparing bids.
“We can do one-to-ones with suppliers of adult education on how to use the NEPO portal and we have a business club that runs bid-writing masterclasses,” she said.
Any providers of adult education interested in submitting a bid to the NTCA should visit www.nepo.org