Responding to the announcement made today (29 September) by the Prime Minister, Kurt Hintz, Interim Executive Principal of Capital City College Group, said:
“We are delighted that the Government has announced it will offer free Level 3 courses to adults. We know that the biggest barrier to people enrolling on any course is its cost, so we already provide all our courses up to and including Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) for free to everyone, and one of our colleges – the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) – has done this since 2017. In that time, thousands of people from across London have enrolled on a free course, in subjects from Accounting to Travel & Tourism, and from bricklaying to Science – using it as a stepping stone to higher level qualifications, or into an apprenticeship or other job.
“As well as our free courses up to Level 2, we also offer a wide range of free short courses at Level 3, enabling even more adults to gain new skills, and we are delighted that the Government is building on this and making this opportunity available to more people.
“However, we are concerned that the funding for these free courses won’t be available until April 2021. People whose job prospects have been affected by COVID-19 need help to get learning and boosting their skills now, not in seven months’ time, and we’d urge the Government to make these funds – and the list of qualifying courses – available much sooner.
“We also note that when the funds are made available, it will be through the National Skills Fund. CONEL is part of the Capital City College Group, which is London’s largest provider of further education courses, and we’d like the funds to be added to the adult education budget, which in London is devolved to the Mayor. This would give much more local accountability and would also make it easier for colleges across the capital to access these funds and get Londoners learning faster.”