Government urged to give adults lacking functional skills access to training

An extra £200 million should be set aside to double the numbers enrolled on functional skills courses, says Learning and Work Institute

George Ryan

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Every adult who lacks literacy or numeracy skills should have access to functional skills training by 2030, the Learning and Work Institute has said.

Speaking at a panel discussion on creating a "skills revolution" in further and higher education, the organisation’s chief executive Stephen Evans said it was "absolutely disastrous" that participation in functional skills courses had fallen by 25 per cent in five years, given there are still nine million adults lacking literacy or numeracy skills.

Functional skills 'disaster'

Mr Evans called for the government to set aside an extra £200 million to double the numbers enrolled on courses, including digital skills, either in a work setting or an FE institution.

Speaking at the same event, the chair of the education select committee Robert Halfon called for maths and English GCSE resits to be scrapped in favour of functional skills training. He said there should be a "rebalancing of funds" away from academic higher education courses towards technical education.

Degree apprenticeships

Mr Halfon added: “I want to see more universities offering these apprenticeships. There are currently just 11,600 degree-apprenticeships.  I hope that one day, half of all university students are doing them.”

The event was co-hosted by the Centre for Social Justice, the Learning and Work Institute and the Open University with a panel discussing the topic of improving social justice through a skills revolution.

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