Wigan Adult Learning and Skills aims to provide as much free provision for as many residents of the borough as possible, where there is an education or skills gap. Our funding is received from Greater Manchester Combined Authority, who expect us to set fees for some courses, the government view being that adults who can afford to pay for learning should pay, and public subsidy should be targeted at the most disadvantaged learners.
English, maths, and digital courses are offered free for all adults who need them, at level 2 or below.
Any income generated from fees will be used to fund more courses and growth. The fee policy is based on a rate comparable to other local providers who run similar courses.
Wigan Adult Learning and Skills - Fees Statement
- Adult Learners who are on an Income-based benefit, or who earn less than £23,104 annual gross salary, will not pay course fees. When we say ‘earn’ we mean through either employment or through a pension
- Further fee exemptions apply to Adult Learners depending upon their prior learning attainments – please phone our admin team on 01942 489758 for details if you have been asked to pay a fee but wish to find out if you may be exempt
- Skills for Life / Functional Skills - Adult literacy and numeracy / Family Learning literacy, numeracy courses & Digital Skills courses are free (this is a national Adult Learning policy)
- Very short tasters or workshops, comprising of one session, can be free, as a tool to encourage learners to progress to further learning
- Courses targeting specific vulnerable groups are often free for learners
- We do not charge an ‘Admin’, ‘Joining’ or registration fee.
For specialist courses and courses commissioned by another organisation or with sponsorship from employers, a higher fee should be charged to cover costs.
For more information, please see our full Adult Learning and Skills Fees Policy policy.
Support for learners - Additional Learning Support
We believe that all learners should be enabled to succeed. We want you to achieve your full potential and will support you to do this. We can offer additional learning support to help you during your learning journey with us.
We offer support to learners with additional learning needs to help them access and participate fully in their course. Types of on-site support include:
- Switching classrooms to enable easier access
- Arranging alternative seating arrangements
- Adapting teaching materials or teaching style
- Offering course information in different formats.
We can also offer:
- Adapted equipment
- Adapted resources e.g. coloured paper/overlays
- Small group learning.
How to get support if you have additional needs
If you feel you need some extra support, let your tutor know about the additional support you need at your initial assessment, or when you enrol, and we’ll do what we can to help you. We respect confidentiality and will work with you to agree the most appropriate support.
Financial support for learners
We have a small bursary fund designed to help learners in financial difficulty, known as the Hardship fund. This is a discretionary fund and operates on an assessed needs basis.
Please note that once the final amount has been paid out, there is no further funding for the academic year.
This fund can support:
- Digital support
- Childcare for learners aged 19 and over.
How to apply for financial support
To apply, please ask your tutor about the Hardship fund when you enrol. Funding is very limited and we cannot guarantee all applicants will be given an award.
Alternatively, please complete a Hardship fund form.
If you would like support to find free adult learning courses, training for a new job or volunteering opportunities then you can speak to our Pathways to Learning and Work Officer. They can support you to find information on improving your skills and find courses and sessions suitable for you.
Get in touch to discuss your options and learn more:
Information, Advice and Guidance
The National Careers Service provides free information, advice and guidance to adults aged 18+ to help you make decisions on learning, training and work.
They can support you with:
- Courses and training
- Changing jobs
- Identifying transferable skills
- Planning your next career move
- Effective job search
- Returning to work from time out
- Job applications
- Finished college/university
- CV development
- Learn more about your skills and match them to suitable jobs.
To find out more about the different ways they can support you:
Tablet lending library
Wigan Council’s Digital team offer a tablet lending library, which aims to bridge the digital divide by helping local organisations and professionals connect digitally excluded adults to a free tablet device with data.
The scheme also makes multiple tablet devices available to loan for projects run by partner organisations looking to deliver their own digital inclusion projects.
For further information see Tablet lending library.
The Digital team at Wigan Council also offer Techmates provision, where residents can access Drop in sessions for support with basic digital skills. Ideal for beginners and no need to book, just turn up.