Funding available to learning providers to support the design and development of flexible learning approaches and packages.

The Department for Education (DfE) is providing the Flexible Learning Fund to support projects that develop methods of delivering learning that are flexible and easy to access for adults who are in work, or returning to work, with either low or intermediate level skills.

The aim of the Fund is to develop and expand evidence and insight into the effectiveness of scalable learning delivery methods that make learning more attractive and easier to access for adults. This evidence will be used to develop future Government policy and will provide examples of best practice that can be drawn upon by the adult learning sector.

There are three key instrumental objectives of the pilot:

  1. To encourage flexible and accessible learning delivery to maximise adult participation and attainment - especially by:
    • Learning providers who have the inclination, but lack some of the resource, to design and test new or novel approaches to delivery are able to do so with Government support.
    • Employers with a low-to-intermediate skilled workforce and/or who will benefit from an upskilled labour market supply, and are actively involved in designing ways to support the skills needs of their local economy alongside internally upskilling their workers.
  2. To encourage collaboration between providers, employers, and other relevant organisations in meeting national and local skills needs:
    • Local links and relationships between organisations are strengthened by working together on projects that support the Government's career learning ambitions.
    • New relationships can develop through a collaborative approach to projects, which could be facilitated by membership organisations or local Government bodies such as LEPs.
  3. To evaluate projects to understand which are effective and create examples of best practice:
    • Evaluation results will be collected and made available to a wide range of interested parties, as stimulus for similar activities.
    • Government, providers and other organisations are able to learn from and build on the evidence generated about the effectiveness of delivery methods tested using this fund.

Projects must include a period of design and development of the specific delivery method, followed by a delivery phase during which the method is tested with real learners. Projects must centre on the delivery of basic skills, or on intermediate or higher level technical learning.

Application deadline: 31 January 2018

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