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Older People (Skills Training)

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) grants and (b) training schemes are available through his Department (i) for people over 55 years and (ii) for people in retirement to learn new job skills. (80745)

In England the priorities for public funding of adult learning are to help those adults without the skills for life and employability, regardless of age. Tuition in literacy and numeracy is free and there will be an entitlement to free tuition for a first full level 2 qualification across England from September this year for all adults irrespective of age. All adults can access a wide range of training courses offered by further education college and other FE providers where, currently, on average 72.5 per cent. of the tuition costs of courses are met by public funding through the Learning and Skills Council. In addition all those on income related benefits and their families are eligible for free tuition on further education courses.

There is also financial support to meet the costs of learning, such as books, equipment, child care and transport; it is discretionary, disbursed by colleges and targeted on the most disadvantaged and needy regardless of age. The Adult Learning Grant offers an entitlement of up to £30 per week to individuals on low income undertaking a first full level 2 or level 3 qualification. From September 2006 this will be available to adults aged 19 plus in 24 of the 47 LSC areas, and nationally from September 2007.