The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) has helped thousands of people get ahead in life by funding adult education in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.

It is using the £23 million Adult Education Budget (AEB) secured from Government to match the skills and training on offer to the jobs available and to be created in the North of Tyne. And during Adult Learners’ Week, the UK’s largest festival of learning, this week it is urging residents to take advantage of the skills and training opportunities available.

North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Education, Inclusion, and Skills Cllr Karen Kilgour said:Adult Learning can broaden your horizons, build your networks and open doors.  It’s your chance to make a new start or develop your career.

“Whether you are looking for a new direction, to brush up on your skills, improve your job opportunities, seek some advice or guidance on qualification or courses, this is for you.

“Having control of the devolved Adult Education Budget has been a chance to deliver the kind of life-changing education and training experiences to help shape a more productive, skilled, and inclusive economy in the North of Tyne.”

In August 2020 NTCA took control of a £23 million Adult Education Budget (AEB) from central government, which is being used to commission high quality provision that supports residents to gain the skills needed for a changing economy, including those in work to progress into better jobs and increase their earnings and higher level technical and green skills.

NTCA is currently working with 30 education providers who are delivering a wide range of skills programmes. Since August 2020, more than 20,000 AEB funded courses have been started by our residents, ranging from tailored individual support to build confidence and breakdown barriers to employment, to programmes progressing learners to higher level qualifications and into work.

It has also funded more than 37,500 learning opportunities for residents in 2020-21, with almost half of learning opportunities (nearly 15,000) at Level 2 in 2020-21, up from a third (nearly 10,000) in 2018/19.

Cllr Kilgour said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, our providers have been remarkable in rising to the challenge of providing online learning and safe environments for learners.

“We will continue to support them to develop high quality skills provision to meet the needs of our residents and employers. Adult Learners Week is a great opportunity for our providers to showcase the successes of some of their learners and inform you of what provision is available over the coming months.

“Whatever your situation, if you’re passionate about learning a new skill, we’ll help you explore your options with free, impartial advice on the training programmes that can help you change your story.”

Funds have been targeted at key groups of unemployed residents, supporting in-work progression with further resources that have supported residents with acute learning and training needs that were not being met prior to devolution.

The Combined Authority is committed to empowering its people with the skills and resources they need to take ownership of their futures and secure good jobs with fair wages.

The NTCA is a combined authority with an elected mayor that was created in November 2018, when Parliament signed off on a £600 million devolution deal bringing Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside councils together in an unprecedented transfer of power and investment from Westminster to the North East.

It is tasked with initiating projects to boost growth, create jobs, and create a more green, inclusive economy. North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll was elected on a promise to support communities in the North of Tyne to create and build wealth, then keep that wealth in the region.