Universities are playing a central role in supporting businesses and individuals. Universities UK have recently published a brochure which summarises the help universities are offering to individuals and businesses during the downturn. These activities are being funded from existing budgets, and from the £120 million savings made by universities as a result of the reduction in VAT.
Planned investment for adult participation in further education and skills will increase to £3.3 billion in 2009-10. The Government investment strategy underpinning this investment includes specific measures designed to help people who have been made redundant to retrain. This includes: providing more flexibility for colleges and providers in the use of funding for courses below level 2 (equivalent of five good GCSEs) to enable them to respond to demand from learners looking to get back into employment; and exploring ways to reward colleges and providers who deliver sustainable employment outcomes for learners.
As announced in the pre-Budget report in November 2008, £158 million of European Social Funds will be available over the next three years, £79 million of which will be matched with LSC funding. This will help support people currently facing redundancy and those looking for work to retrain and develop their skills so they can quickly move back into sustainable employment. Details of the package of support will be announced shortly.