Having eagerly awaited the latest version of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) Funding rules, we were pleased to see that the rules remain largely unchanged. There appears to be some minor amendments, rather than significant wholesale changes and this is absolutely the right decision, for a number of reasons.
AEB is still a relatively new budget, which needs time to adjust. Successive governments have been criticised for continually tweaking new policies, and it’s great to see the government providing some stability. With so much change happening in other areas of education and skills, it will be of comfort to colleges and providers that they don’t have another change to which they must adapt. It also means that civil service capacity is focused in the right areas as we all seek to ensure the reforms work.
At NCFE we believe that lifelong learning is hugely important and we encourage our customers to make the most of their AEB funding. There was a £63m underspend in the Adult Education Budget in the last academic year and we’d like to see this reduce considerably this year.
One way you can utilise AEB funding is by supporting your staff’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Investing and upskilling staff is of huge benefit to your workforce but also your learners and customers. CPD qualifications can help people working in education develop their career, improve understanding in key sector areas and substantiate knowledge against Ofsted related themes. Learners can study at a time and place convenient for them and are supported through the qualification by an industry-expert assessor. More and more providers are using these as ways to further advance relationships with adult learners and employers while fully utilising their AEB allocation.
A particularly important qualification we offer in partnership with Learning Curve Group is our NCFE CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Safeguarding and Prevent. This qualification increases knowledge and awareness of the Prevent Duty and safeguarding, including online safety and equips learners with the skills they need when working in an environment where they have a duty of care.
We also offer a range of other AEB funding eligible qualifications such as Mental Health in Children and Young People, Understanding Behaviour that Challenges, Equality and Diversity, and many more, all supported by fantastic resources from Learning Curve Group.
In the next few years we’ll see the devolution of the Adult Education Budget and the introduction of the National Retraining Scheme so the spotlight is firmly on adult and lifelong learning.