Adults across Coventry and Warwickshire can take advantage of the government’s new education policy to gain qualifications to boost their careers – for free.
The Department for Education is allowing education providers to offer free courses for anyone earning less than £15,726 in an initial year-long trial from September.
The decision means adults no longer have to pay half the cost and can take advantage of a range of courses that will help them to gain qualifications to improve their careers in creative arts, health and social care, IT, hospitality and catering, hairdressing and beauty therapy, and floristry.
Courses are on offer from North Warwickshire & Hinckley College in Hinckley Road, Nuneaton, and Lower Bond Street in Hinckley, as well as other Further Education colleges in Coventry and Warwickshire.
These include NVQ Level 1 and 2 computing for beginners, desktop publishing, web design, digital photography, accounting, food safety, first aid, hairdressing, beauty therapy, floral design, languages and counselling.
Gaining qualifications at no cost can provide a foundation for adults to work towards gaining Level 3 qualifications including Access to Higher Education in healthcare, social sciences and education, as well as progressing to Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas, Foundation Degrees, BAs and professional qualifications.
Marion Plant OBE, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Productivity & Skills Business Group and Principal and Chief Executive Officer of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, said this was a great opportunity for adults in lower-paid jobs to gain qualifications to improve their career prospects.
She said: “Improving skills is a key part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s priorities and this trial by the Department for Education will give adults who may have been deterred from applying for courses at Further Education colleges because of the cost to think again.
“I hope that removing this financial barrier will encourage more adults to consider improving their skill-set to improve their job prospects or climb the ladder with their current employer.
“There are many talented people throughout Coventry and Warwickshire who will benefit from taking advantage of this change in adult education policy to sign-up for the wide range of courses that are available.
“Qualifications can be studied flexibly either part-time, during the day or in the evening, which is really important since they are designed to fit around work and family commitments.
“This decision could change their lives as well as overcoming skills gaps in the region and developing the skills which employers need.”