Shadow Minister backs Adult Learners’ week by questioning funding cuts to services

Mohammad Asghar, Shadow Minister for Further Education and Skills, has quizzed the Welsh Government over the level of support available for adult learners in Wales.

Speaking in the Welsh Parliament, Mr Asghar asked Welsh Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams AM, to explain why funding cuts to adult education services have hampered opportunities to access services in Wales.

He asked the Minister to recognise that despite the social and economic benefits of returning to education as a mature student, the number of people undertaking adult learning has declined significantly in recent years.

Mr Asghar blamed Welsh Labour Government cuts for hindering the sector’s ability to provide flexible, consistent and accessible courses. Between 2011/12 and 2016/17, overall revenue funding for further education institutions fell by 7% in cash terms, with part-time further education funding seeing a 71% reduction.

The Community Learning Grant which funds Adult Community Learning was reduced by 37.5% in 2014/15, but now remains stable in the 2018-19 budget at £4.3 million.

Mr Asghar used his questions to the Minister to also ask for further support to be given to adult learners balancing their studies with work and family commitments together with financial barriers.

Adult Learners’ Week is an annual campaign run in more than 55 countries worldwide.

Commenting, Mr Asghar said:

“I’m delighted to have had this opportunity to back Adult Learners’ Week in the chamber.

“This week is all about raising awareness of the value of adult learning, celebrating the achievements of learners and providers, and as a result inspiring more people to discover how learning can positively change their lives.

“Adult learning is key to a forward thinking, diverse economy and it provides Wales’ workforce with the ability to gain new skills and knowledge to improve employment outcomes. As part of this, I will be running a skills and jobs fair on Monday 19th August for the people of Newport.

“I hope now that the Minister acts to improve support for adult students and to increase what could be life-changing opportunities for prospective learners.”