Great Britain

Funding boost to tackle digital poverty during Covid in Merseyside

ADULT learners across Wirral and Merseyside can apply for grants to buy equipment needed to continue with covid-disrupted courses online.

The grants, of between £15,000 and £40,000 - from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority - will go to Adult Education Providers to ensure that learners who have struggled to access IT during the pandemic have the opportunity to access computer equipment and the required technology to ensure they can complete any online learning

Many courses are continuing online teaching, but without access to suitable technology and equipment, learners are unable to carry on with their studies.

Providers including colleges, independent training providers and Local Authority providers of adult and community learning, will now receive the grants to enable them to provide learners with appropriate resources.

The £915,000 in funding comes from the £55 million Adult Education Budget, which due to its devolution agreement, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has been responsible for commissioning and funding since August 2019.

It aims to work with adults (aged 19 and over) who live in the Liverpool City Region - which includes Wirral - to provide the skills and learning they need to equip them for work, an apprenticeship or other learning.

Contracted providers have been given guidance as to how this funding can be used to benefit learners, such as supporting those who are self-isolating or caring for others affected by coronavirus and unable to go to classes, those who don't have internet access at home or don't have a suitable device on which to compete the necessary online course work.

Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: "These past few months have shown how valuable digital skills are and they'll be even more valuable as more and more jobs and businesses embrace online working.

"We're investing almost £1m to ensure that learners across the region have access to the tech that they need to keep up their studies.

"We will do our best to make sure wherever possible that nobody falls behind or is left behind because of the difficulties caused by COVID-19.

"I want this to help people across the region to succeed not just in the coming weeks and months with their learning, but in years to come where they can play a key role in our recovery."

The first Adult Education provider grants should be made available in November.

For more information on the adult education budget and contracted education providers go to: https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/adult-education-budget/

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