DEVON may get new forms of adult education and training once the county secures a prospective devolution deal.

The county council has applied to become a Combined County Authority (CCA) joining with Torbay, with the aim of accessing more government cash and a greater say on how to spend it.

The potential move was mentioned in the chancellor’s autumn statement in November, although final confirmation hasn’t been given.

Nevertheless, Devon is beginning to consider how it might spend skills’ funding it could receive if it achieves CCA status.

The authority said local control of the adult education budget would let the CCA make some decisions on how it was spent.

A report for councillors says the Education and Skills Funding Agency does not currently have much scope for tailoring spending for local needs.

It continued: “In devolved areas, though, like Manchester or Birmingham, you still have to meet targets around supporting adults, but you get to decide how you do that and what works for your area.

“That could include things like focusing more of the funding on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) residents, or supporting additional training around maths and English to get older or younger people into employment.”

It added that it could be possible to run schemes such as additional digital training in rural communities, or support specialist programmes for younger people, which might not be allowed under national guidelines.

“It basically gives local partners the ability to agree the types of training you can run locally, and make sure the funding is working best for your residents,” the report added.

“It doesn’t sound much at first, but the existing devolved areas have found it really can help to tailor the support you can offer for harder to reach residents.”

The county council says it is still working closely with the government on the devolution proposal.

Bradley Gerrard