Tees Valley Combined Authority has agreed a move to secure an indicative £30.5m a year in Government funding for adult education in the region.
At a meeting of the Combined Authority Cabinet, members approved the laying of a Parliamentary Order by the Secretary of State for Education, which is a vital step to enable changes to legislation to allow the deal to proceed.
The Adult Education Budget will be devolved from central Government from August 2019 to support learners aged 19 and over.0
Devolution of the budget allows the Mayor and Cabinet to target funds where they are most needed, to provide skills training, help local people back to work and nurture home-grown talent.
More than 170 training providers that currently operate in the Tees Valley access this budget.
Taking control of this funding will support the sustainability of further education and independent training providers while targeting those who do not have qualifications.
The move comes just weeks after Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen launched TeesValleyCareers.com, which aims to directly connect the 100,000 young people in the region to more than 1,000 businesses.
TeesValleyCareers.com is the first of its kind in the UK and, like the delivery of the Adult Education Budget, will help to ensure people in the area have the experience, skills, confidence and understanding they need to succeed while allowing employers to fill skills gaps and flourish.
Mayor Houchen said: “From next year, we will control a £30m annual fund to improve post-19 education across the Tees Valley.
“We are only getting control of this fund because our region agreed to a directly-elected Mayor. This is yet another example of devolution working for our area.
“Thanks to this investment from central government, we will ensure learners can gain the skills that local businesses desperately need.
“For decades, some companies took the easy way out and brought in cheap labour to fill demand. But with this new fund, we will start investing in home-grown talent by re-training local people to fill our skills gap.
“Learners, employers and our entire region stand to benefit enormously from this decision.”
Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher, Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet Lead for Education, said: “This is another key plank in our strategy to make sure everybody in the Tees Valley has every chance to access high-quality learning, develop their skills and achieve their potential.
“Helping adults back into the worlds of education and work will have a real, demonstrable effect on the Tees Valley, not least the wellbeing of our residents.”