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Government should urgently commit to devolving further adult education funding to the capital – or risk undermining London’s long-term recovery from Covid-19, the Mayor of London,

Sadiq Khan, has warned.

A total of 91 providers, across all 33 London boroughs, have each been allocated between £25,000 and £200,000 for measures to create Covid-secure facilities and ensure learners can access courses remotely – such as installing Perspex screens, buying thermal scanners, refitting reception areas and providing learners with laptops or tablets.

Successful applicants include further education colleges, charities, local authorities, private sector colleges and institutes of adult education.

The Government devolved £306 million in Adult Education Budget (AEB) funding to London – which funds education and training for Londoners aged 19 and above – for 2019/20, rising to £332 million by 2020/21. This is half the amount the city received before the financial crisis of 2008. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London’s dynamic skills sector has a huge role to play in helping many thousands of Londoners retrain and get new jobs amidst the terrible economic and social disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"London’s Adult Education Budget has halved since the 2008 recession – now is the moment for the Government to reverse that damage and devolve more adult education funding to our city to support our recovery.” 

Mary Vine-Morris, Area Director (London) and National Lead Employment of the Association of Colleges, said: “Colleges have worked extremely hard to ensure their students and staff are safe amidst the ongoing pandemic and the Covid-19 Emergency Recovery Support Fund helped many in the capital to cover some of the increased costs. The pandemic is far from over, and as many as a third of students in some London colleges do not have their own laptop, tablet or adequate WIFI to fulfil their studies, so this commitment from the London Mayor is very welcome. Colleges work closely with the Mayor and the GLA and are committed to meeting the ongoing economic and social challenges faced by London and Londoners.


“Rising unemployment is worrying and Londoners will need easy access to retraining and upskilling opportunities to recover from the effects of Covid. We support the call for London's AEB to be restored to 2008 levels to tackle the unprecedented challenges we are facing and we support a joined up approach to employment and skills programmes. This will ensure that people quickly get back into secure jobs. We welcome and agree that colleges are central to London's recovery and rebuild, but they must have the resources they need to play their full role.”

The Mary Ward Centre in central London is one of the skills providers which will benefit from funding through the Mayor’s funding.

Suzanna Jackson, CEO of the Mary Ward Centre, added: “This vital funding from the Mayor of London enables us to make the necessary investment in providing safe and effective face-to-face learning, at a time when people need it more than ever. The impact of Covid-19 restrictions on our income means this would simply not have been possible without the Mayor’s support.”

Photo by COD Newsroom, Wikimedia commons.