The devolution of post-19 education to the Tees Valley has come one step closer following a Westminster debate on the issue.
The Delegated Legislation Committee met to consider the draft Tees Valley Combined Authority (Adult Education Functions) Order, the statutory instrument that transfers control of the adult education budget from Government to the Combined Authority from August 1 next year.
From the 2019/2020 academic year, the Mayor and Combined Authority will be responsible for adult education delivery contracts, funding, and management for learners in the Tees Valley.
An indicative annual budget of £30.5million will help to support a flexible and more responsive skills system for business growth by creating and targeting the training paths to improve adult training better linked to business demand.
Working more closely with our strategic and economically significant training providers, from public, private and community sectors, will create a more dynamic and responsive offer to learners and business.
The next step is for the order to be debated in the House of Lords. Once the Order has been debated in both houses, it will then be signed off by the Secretary of State.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Next year we will control a £30.5million annual fund to improve post-19 education across the Tees Valley. We are only getting control of this fund because our region agreed to a directly-elected Mayor. This is yet another example of devolution working for our area.
“Thanks to this investment from central government, we will ensure learners can gain the skills that local businesses desperately need.
“For decades, some companies took the easy way out and brought in cheap labour to fill demand. But with this new fund, we will start investing in home-grown talent by re-training local people to fill our skills gap. Learners, employers and our entire region stand to benefit enormously from this decision.”
“This is just one strand of a massive overhaul to the way we build the skills of tomorrow that businesses need to thrive, which also includes projects such as our £3million TeesValleyCareers.com initiative.”
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “This is fantastic news. We have worked hard on our plans to make sure everyone across Tees Valley has access to progressive and rewarding careers, helping them to achieve their potential.
“The devolution of the adult education budget will allow us to take local decisions on how and where we invest our money to make a lasting impact on the lives of our residents.
“Helping adults back into the worlds of education and work will have a real, demonstrable effect on the Tees Valley, not least the wellbeing of our residents.”