July 3 2019 @ 8:49 by Steven Hugill
A near £26 million training scheme has been launched to bolster skills.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and the Tees Valley Combined Authority cabinet have agreed to award £25.8 million of the devolved adult education budget to training providers.
The budget will be used by 33 providers to deliver post-19 education and skills across the region for the 2019/2020 academic year from August 1.
As part of the Government’s devolution agenda, areas with Metro Mayors have been granted control over post-19 education budgets, alongside powers covering delivery and performance management.
It will be the first time Tees Valley will have control of the budget for adult education and it will be one of only eight areas in the country with the powers.
In the ten-year Tees Valley Investment Plan agreed in January, an additional £55 million of funding has been pledged by Mayor Houchen and the combined authority into wider education, employment and skills initiatives.
These include schemes to support apprenticeships, tackle unemployment and drive forward proper careers education.
Mayor Houchen said: “With this investment, we will ensure learners can gain the skills local businesses desperately need.
“For decades, some companies took the easy way out and brought in cheap labour to fill demand.
“Now we have control over post-19 education, we will start investing in home-grown talent by re-training local people to fill our skills gap.
“For the first time ever, we will absolutely make sure that local people are properly trained to fill the jobs being created today and into the future.”
Councillor Bob Cook, Tees Valley Combined Authority’s cabinet lead for education, employment and skills, added: “With these new providers on board, we can give the sort of adult education that plays to our strengths and that will work for our residents.
“With a wealth of opportunity available in the region for top-quality jobs, we need to make sure our workforce is equipped to tackle these head-on and succeed in rewarding careers.”