More than 900 extra places on adult learning courses are being created and offered to some of the residents who have been most disadvantaged by COVID-19.
Merton Council successfully bid for funding from the Greater London Authority, totalling almost £360,000 over two academic years. This will be used to deliver a range of online and face to face classes.
Residents who have been furloughed or made redundant as a result of the pandemic will be able to update their skills or learn new ones as they seek alternative employment. Those who have been shielding during lockdown with limited or no access to IT will also be able to sign up for an online course on IT skills or digital training.
Some of the extra places on the online learning courses will benefit the residents in the east of the borough who were already on waiting lists to enrol for training in core subjects, including maths and English. There is a Learn English Together project, for residents whose first language is not English and tailored courses for people with a disability or a learning impairment. Courses will also be provided to help improve residents’ digital skills and some of the funding will be used to invest in equipment to loan to residents who may not have the resources to purchase computer equipment themselves.
Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education, Councillor Eleanor Stringer, said: “We want to do all we can to help residents who have been disadvantaged by the pandemic. Many people have been furloughed or made redundant and need to equip themselves with new skills as they seek new employment, and others have been shielding during lockdown with limited or no access to technology.
“I’m proud of our adult education service and its commitment to providing lifelong learning opportunities, particularly its work supporting those living in some of the most deprived parts of Merton to master new skills which can transform their future. This additional funding will enable us to significantly increase the number of places available on a wide range of adult education courses for those most affected by COVID-19.”
For more information and enrolment for courses starting in September, visit: www.merton.gov.uk/adultlearning