Leeds ,

Don’t miss out on chance to learn new skills through Leeds City Council’s Community Learning Programme

A pilot helping people with mental health issues access learning opportunities and targeted work to boost maths and English skills will form part of Leeds City Council’s Community Learning Programme this year.

Expected to support in the region of 8,000 learners during 2015-2016, the council has commissioned 26 providers across the city to deliver for adults aged 19 and over a wide-ranging £1.5m learning and skills package. Funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), the aim of the programme is to maximise the opportunity for adults from all backgrounds and especially those living in disadvantaged communities, to access over 1,400 courses which are offered in Leeds across 200 venues. Through the courses on offer, people not only have the chance to boost their skill sets and gain new qualifications, but also at the same time experience the joy of learning. Courses set to be available include; Conservation and Gardening, Arts, Media & Publishing, Health, Public Services and Care and Woodworking.

Also featuring in this year’s offer will include a new initiative that will seek to strengthen the opportunities that are available for people with mild to moderate mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression to access training and learning. Designed in partnership by mental health treatment organisations and learning providers, work will also be undertaken to strengthen how referrals are made. This project sits aside a range of others programmes, including Family English Maths and Language (FEML) which has been designed to improve maths, English and language skill in families and a targeted learning project to help those with multiple or complex needs. ICT provision will also be on offer to support unemployed residents getting back into work.

Some learners can qualify for free tuition if they are receiving benefits, with charges applied at 80p per hour for pensioners and £3 per hour for others. For more information regarding the 2015-2016 Community Learning Programme, please see: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/Learning-Opportunities.aspx

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for employment, Enterprise and Opportunity said:

“Providing adults of all ages and backgrounds with the chance to improve and learn new skills remains a top priority for the council, and we have undertaken a lot of work to help ensure the best possible Community Learning Programme can be delivered by our chosen providers this year.

“We are expecting in 2015-2016 to see around 8,000 learners in the city access the diverse programme of projects and courses on offer, which range from ICT learning to helping families improving their maths and English skills. I also welcome the introduction of a pilot to support learners with mental health needs, which will play an important part in informing the future work that we do in this area.

“With courses being held at 200 venues across Leeds, this is a fantastic opportunity for adults to not only discover or rediscover the fun of learning, but also at the same time gain a range of qualifications that can help lead to new future employment and training opportunities.”

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson,

Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk