One of the choices that the government has made about education funding post-18 is to prioritise funding for apprenticeships within the adult skills budget. The consequence of this decision will be felt hardest by adult learners over 24 taking ‘non-apprenticeship’ vocational courses. These are the type of courses that small and medium sized businesses rely on FE colleges and other providers to deliver to enable them to remain competitive. The 2015/16 adult skills budget announced in February, coupled with this ring-fencing of apprenticeship funding, means that almost a quarter of the budget will be lost from such courses compared to 2014/15.

Many organisations and individuals are obviously concerned and a petition started by the University and College Union has garnered around 18,000 signatures so far. 

This blog post by Jonathan Ledger, managing director of the Proskills UK group, is typical of many written since this announcement was made at the end of February. Tim, Adult Education Ed

Over the past 20 years the UK has developed a world-class vocational skills approach that remains the envy of the globe.

Successive UK governments have eroded the budget for this year on year, with the budget for the 2015/16 academic year looking like it will take another nose dive.

We hear a lot of ministerial rhetoric about how skills will help the UK out of recession by ensuring businesses have the right people with the skills they need to sustain this fragile recovery. In February 2015, Business Secretary Vince Cable MP and Skills Minister Nick Boles MP from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills set out the budget that would be made available to the Skills Funding Agency during the forthcoming academic year. Staggeringly the Adult Skills Budget is being cut by a 17% – a massive £360m reduction.

Read the full post | Proskills UK Group