About Community Learning and Skills

Cumbria Community Learning and Skills offers a wide range of courses for people at all levels and interests, both qualification and non qualification, in a broad range of subjects. These support the delivery of the Council Plan 2018 to 2022, and Skills Development priorities of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and confirmed in the Education and Skills Funding Agency Funding and Performance Rules 2018/19. Cumbria Community Learning and Skills will provide a programme of courses based on the Six geographical areas of the County.

  • Strengthen and sustain the people and communities of Cumbria through the power of learning

  • Provide a high quality learning experience for all learners in all locations across all subjects

  • Provide a high quality programme relevant to local interests

We organise and deliver the majority of our provision through our Community Learning and Skills Centres and also work with a range of specialist sub-contracted providers. Between them they have around 150 outreach locations, so there should always be a course close at hand.

The programme in each geographical area will be designed to reflect local need and priorities based around

  • High quality local partnerships

  • High quality local research, consultation / feedback

and will be delivered by subject experts with appropriate teaching skills.

Courses offered are often supported through the government grant received through the Skills Funding Agency. However, increasingly those who can pay will be expected to pay course fees.

All courses will contribute to the objectives of New Challenges, New Chances.

  • Focusing public funds on people who are disadvantaged and least likely to participate

  • Collecting fee income from those who can afford to pay and using where possible to extend provision to those who cannot

  • Widening participation and transforming people's destinies by supporting progression relevant to personal circumstances, for example - increasing confidence and willingness to learn

  • Acquiring skills preparing for training, employment, self-employment

  • Improving digital, financial literacy and communication skills

  • Improving skills as parents/carers and ability to support children's learning

  • Improving health and wellbeing

  • Developing stronger communities with more self-sufficient, connected and pro-active citizens. 

Community Learning and Skills has developed a range of partnerships with subcontracted providers to help us to achieve our mission to strengthen and sustain the people and communities of Cumbria through the power of learning:

Some of our subcontracted providers are schools that have become independent academy trusts in recent years.  These schools delivered adult learning programmes for many years whilst they were part of the council, so it is only the nature of their relationship with the council that changed at the point of becoming an academy, moving from being an integral part of the council's own direct delivery to that of being a subcontracted provider.  

Cumbria is the second largest county in England with an area of approximately 2,500 square miles.  This presents considerable challenges for delivery of a county-wide service and many of our local community-based subcontractors enable us to meet this challenge, especially in relation to our areas of highest disadvantage in geographically isolated communities on the south and west coast. 

A number of our subcontractors are niche providers working with specific targeted groups of disadvantaged adults, such as adults who are unemployed or those who are disabled or are recovering from mental ill health.

One of our subcontractors is an FE college where access to our more flexible Community Learning funding enables the college to widen participation to disadvantaged adults in the community and so aid progression to college courses.

Supply Chain Fees Policy 2018/19 (PDF 141KB)

Subcontracted Provision 2017/18 (PDF 270KB)

Subcontracted Provision 2016/17 (PDF 248KB)