Unskilled adults from disadvantaged areas are less likely to undertake training compared to those with already high skilled or high paid jobs, according to a report conducted by the Government’s Social Mobility Commission. 

According to the report the poorest adults with the lowest qualifications are the least likely to access adult training – despite being the group who would potentially benefit the greatest.

Darren Hankey, Principal of Hartlepool College of Further Education, who have a number of courses aimed at adults who need basic English and maths, said:

“The Matthew Effect is linked to the idea that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  

“The recent Social Mobility Report into the UK’s Adult Skills Gap clearly underlines this phenomenon as it highlighted those with less qualifications are much less likely to receive training and development in the workplace compared to those with higher levels skills and qualifications.

“The implications of the report’s findings are quite stark - the gap between those with low levels skills and qualifications and those more better off is likely to widen.  

“As someone who was raised on an inner-city council estate and in receipt of free school meals all the way through compulsory education; this is something which annoys me and fires me up to try to address the imbalance.”

Buoyed by the #OneTownCan campaign initiated by the Hartlepool Fabians; Hartlepool College of Further Education is aiming to reach out to those adults who live in the town who might not have inadequate English and maths qualifications.  

Darren continued: “The College, in partnership with many of the town’s schools, aims to highlight to parents the importance of good English and maths qualifications and then provide free education opportunities for those who need to raise their knowledge, skills in these the most important areas.

“Furthermore, Hartlepool College of FE offers an array of adult education courses for those who wish to re-skill, up-skill or gain new qualifications. 

“Many of these are free or have are no upfront costs - and the College has a long and well-established track record of transforming adult learners’ lives.”

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Tees Valley Combined Authority Member for Education, Employment and Skills and Hartlepool Borough Council Leader said:

 “From this year, the Combined Authority will be responsible for post-19 education across the Tees Valley through a £29.5million devolved annual fund, as confirmed last week.

“We are aware of the issues in our region, but also the fantastic opportunities on offer. That’s why we need to take decisions locally on where best to spend our money to change the fortunes of our residents.

“By working with businesses and partners, we can help target the skills and training programmes that will help local people fill the jobs we are creating and give employers the experienced workers they need. 

“We have also set aside £55million in our Tees Valley Investment Plan for a number of projects to support our wider education, employment and skills strategy. 

“This includes providing a flexible, joined-up package of support for those faced with economic or social barriers to help them access training or jobs. 

“Initiatives to target young people in education will also help tackle these issues from an early age.”

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