In 2021/22, the 17 CWM colleges provided training and education to 47,522 adult learners in the West Midlands region. 

Learner volumes 

Of these 32,109 were resident in the WMCA local authorities and a further 15,413 were resident outside of the WMCA regions. The volume of adult learners in 2021/22 represented a return to 97% of the pre-pandemic levels after a dip of about 6% in 2020/21 caused by campus closures. 

Learning programmes for adults range from a few weeks to two-years in length and are designed and delivered to meet the labour market needs of the local businesses and the career interests of resident population. 

Programmes are for those looking to reskill or upskill, improve their life and career prospects or gain up-to-date skills to get back into work. Learners on Community Learning programmes are not included. 

Funding for adult learning 

Looking at the mix of funding sources for adult learning, the main funding is Adult Education Budget (AEB) funding. There has been a sharp decrease in the number of adults taking our Advanced Learner Loans (ALL) and a new funding stream was introduced in 2020/21, Free Courses for Jobs (FCfJ). 

Levels of learning 

Around half of learners are on programmes at Level 2. There is a notable decline in the proportion of learners at Entry Level and Level 1 and an increase in learners at Level 3 and above. 

The increase in Level 3 learners is most marked within the WMCA area and the overall 64% growth in Level 3 learners over the past three years  is accounted for by a 235% increase in AEB funded provision and the introduction of the level 3 Free Courses for Jobs programmes. Against this, there was a halving of the numbers of learners taking out Advanced Learning Loans to fund their Level 3 courses. The same pattern is evident in the case of learners living outside the WMCA area, but with a less sharp rise in numbers. 

Funding Programmes Inclusion Impact 
Adult Education Budget Advanced Learner Loans Free Courses for Jobs  Basic Skills:
English language 
Into employment programmes SWAPs Construction Gateway Sector Gateway Vocational ESOL  
Gender LLDD Ethnicity Deprivation  Destinations