Around 15,000 adults in Hampshire are set to benefit from a Hampshire County Council investment of £1.35 million for adult and community learning provision in the coming academic year, starting in September 2016.
Around £1.09 million is being allocated to providers, and further funding will be made available during the course of the year, according to demand. This Adult and Community Learning programme operates alongside the additional £570,000 funding provided directly to Hampshire Further Education colleges for community learning.
Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, Councillor Peter Edgar, said: “Whether it’s gaining the skills necessary to secure a job, discovering the internet for the first time, or learning how to build a healthier lifestyle for yourself and your family, Adult and Community Learning can offer a stepping stone to a better quality of life.
“With this year’s programme of funding to providers who offer good quality courses across Hampshire, we aim to make more learning opportunities available to more people – and ultimately improve people’s job prospects, give them more opportunities to engage with their local community, and improve their health and wellbeing.”
The allocation of funding is divided as follows:
1. £500,000 for ‘Hampshire Works’: Targeted programmes to support people over the age of 19 in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance, providing free courses to help access employment. This includes provision for people with learning difficulties or disabilities.
2. £500,000 for ‘Hampshire Thrives’: Targeted programmes to support people without GCSEs or equivalent, or who receive Income Support or Universal Credit, or who have a learning difficulty or disability. The free courses will cover English and maths skills (including family learning, where adults and children learn together), digital inclusion, community integration and health and wellbeing.
3. £350,000 for ‘Hampshire Learns’: This programme aims to encourage wider participation in Adult and Community Learning. Hampshire County Council’s contribution is part of a £1.4 million programme of courses, with the rest of the funding being collected from the learners themselves, in fees. Some learners will be entitled to a 50% fee remission, as per the policy laid out below.
An additional £100,000 fee remission budget has also been allocated, to support a new revised fees policy aimed at ensuring the ‘Hampshire Learns’ courses are accessible to those with low incomes.
A 50% discount on fees is offered to the following learners:
Those eligible and in receipt of work-related benefits including Working Tax Credit (Income limit £16,105)
Those eligible and in receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit; Council Tax; or Housing Benefit
Those eligible and in receipt of a State Pension
Those who live in households where children are eligible for Free School Meals
Those aged 19-25 who were formerly in the care of Hampshire County Council (Care Leavers)
Learners who are asylum seekers (or their dependants) in receipt of the equivalent of income based benefit (assistance under the terms of the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act).