Adult education: Over-25s to get £9,000 under Lib Dems

New proposals by the Liberal Democrats would see all adults be entitled to a Personal Education and Skills Account

Kate Parker

Election 2019: The Liberal Democrats, with Layla Moran as their education spokesperson, have pledged an extra £1bn in funding for further education

Under a Liberal Democrat government, adults in England could be granted £9,000 over their lifetime to pay for further education or training. 

The new proposals would mean that from the age of 25, adults would receive a Personal Education and Skills Account (PESA). The government would make at least three payments of £3,000 into this account over their lifetime. 

Adults could use the money to pay for education or training courses, and also access free careers advice. 

Background: ‘I want Lib Dems to be the party of education’

News: Cable's Lifelong Learning Commission panel revealed

Opinion: 5 ways to improve lifelong learning

Learners would also have the option of making their own contributions to the account.

Investing in adult education key

Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrats’ education spokesperson, told the New Statesman that the scheme was a proactive response to the challenges facing the adult education sector. 

“As technology improves and the population ages, almost half of current workers will have to re-train during their lives.

“The Conservatives spend less than 2 per cent of the total education budget on adults. If we do not invest in adult education, the UK economy will be left behind,” she said. 

The proposals are the result of Sir Vince Cable’s Independent Commission on Lifelong Learning. It’s estimated that the policy would cost £1.3 billion a year, with the added costs of £300-£400 million if the government gave tax breaks to those who also chose to pay into their account personally.

On Sunday 15 September, the party’s members will debate and vote on the proposals. If passed, it will be part of the party's policy for the next general election.

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Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a FE reporter.

Find me on Twitter @KateeParker

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