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Londoners who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic could benefit from new virtual training courses for adult learners. Sadiq Khan has earmarked £9 million to help colleges and other training providers take courses online. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has hit jobs hard in the...

Londoners who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic could benefit from new virtual training courses for adult learners.

Sadiq Khan has earmarked £9 million to help colleges and other training providers take courses online.

The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has hit jobs hard in the UK, with 6.3 million employees furloughed, according to the Government.

In London, benefits claims quadrupled as ministers introduced social distancing advice.

The number of people requesting Universal Credit rose from around 5,000 a week earlier in the year to 20,000 in the week of March 19.

And claims spiked to 64,000 the following week as lockdown restrictions came into force,  according to data from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Announcing his new funding, Mr Khan said he was “confident” it would make a big difference as workers face new challenges during the pandemic.

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“I’m committed to doing all I can to help Londoners gain the skills they need to access employment, despite the difficulties we face now and in the coming weeks and months,” he said.

The Mayor praised the “speed and resilience” colleges and other training centres have shown in moving courses online.

“But we know that some providers need help in making the switch to online learning – and that some Londoners require support to access this training,” he explained.

There will be £6 million for local councils, to help redesign courses normally taught in the classroom.

The funding will focus on training that will help unemployed Londoners, the self-employed and furloughed workers – as well as top-up courses for key workers facing new challenges in their jobs.

A further £3 million will go to private education providers and charities in the city.

Association of Colleges London director Mary Vine-Morris said colleges, like other businesses, have been “severely impacted” by Covid-19 – but will play a “crucial role” in London’s recovery.

She said the Mayor’s funding would help to “explore what the new normal for teaching and learning looks like”.

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