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Further Education

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

21. To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what work his Department is undertaking with the further education sector to provide training or retraining for those who become unemployed. (252535)

We are doing everything we can to help people through this tough time. Further education is at the heart of our response. We are investing £4.5 billion to give employers and individuals the skills they need to improve their competitiveness now and in the future. We have recently announced:

£83 million to provide training for a further 75,000 people who have been unemployed for six months or more;

£158 million to support those looking for work;

£140 million expansion of 35,000 apprenticeship places;

£350 million improved flexibilities in Train to Gain for bite-sized courses for SMEs;

A trebling of the number of Professional Career Development Loans available so that up to 45,000 learners a year can use loans as a way to finance reskilling; and

Greater flexibility in how colleges and providers use their funding below Level 2.

‘FE Works’, a good practice guide recently published by the Association of Colleges, provides further examples of ways the sector is responding to the economic downturn.