Learning and Skills Council survey finds just half of adults would spend £1,000 Adult Learning Grants on educational materials

Young adults have admitted they would spend their £1,000-a-year learning grant on going to the pub, rather than purchasing new books, a survey has revealed.

People aged 19 and over can apply for an Adult Learning Grant (ALG) under a Learning and Skills Council (LSC) initiative to combat the skills crisis, to receive up to £30 per week when studying full time for a first full Level 2 (5 GCSEs at grades A* to C) or a first full Level 3 (2 A levels) qualification.

The ALG is intended to be a helping hand for adults who want to learn more skills, but have certain financial worries.

But 18% of the 1,600 adults surveyed by the LSC said they would spend their part of the £35m initiative on going out, rather than on learning materials such as books or computer equipment.

A further 22% said they would save their weekly grant to help them set up their own business. Just half said they would use the grant to buy new books.

The LSC has defended the system, saying it is entirely up to the individual as to how they spend their money.

A spokeswoman told Personnel Today: “Individuals can spend the grant on absolutely anything. It is an incentive for them to start learning. We have found through various case studies that many people spend the grant on covering the cost of childcare while out studying.”

Skills minister David Lammy is also confident the ALG will help entice adults to improve their skills.

“It complements the entitlement to free tuition for young adults,” he said.

The grant will be available nationally this summer following a pilot programme that began in 2003 throughout England.

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