The Prime Minister has today set out plans to transform the training and skills system, making it fit for the 21st century economy, and helping the country build back better from coronavirus.

  • Adults without an A-Level or equivalent qualification will be offered a free, fully-funded college course – providing them with skills valued by employers, and the opportunity to study at a time and location that suits them.This offer will be available from April in England, and will be paid for through the National Skills Fund. A full list of available courses will be set out shortly.
  • Higher education loans will also be made more flexible, allowing adults and young people to space out their study across their lifetimes, take more high-quality vocational courses in further education colleges and universities, and to support people to retrain for jobs of the future.
  • Apprenticeship opportunities will also be increased, with more funding for SMEs taking on apprentices, and greater flexibility in how their training is structured – especially in sectors such as construction and creative industries where there are more varied employment patterns.

These reforms will be backed by continued investment in college buildings and facilities – including over £1.5 billion in capital funding. More details will be set out in a further education white paper later this year.

The coronavirus pandemic and changing economy is why the Prime Minister is developing a long-term plan to ensure that, as work changes, people can retrain, upskill and find new well-paid jobs.

Source: UK Gov

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcements on post-18 education and training today, BCC Head of People Policy Jane Gratton said:

“The government have listened to Chambers and taken an important step toward a more agile adult skills system in the wake of the pandemic. Our Workplace Training and Development Commission has found that employers need access to bite-sized accredited learning that enables adults to be quickly up-skilled and re-skilled for new opportunities. Apprenticeships will remain crucial to solving the skills crisis and employers need support to recruit and retain apprentices throughout the pandemic as cashflow restrictions force firms to make difficult choices. Over time, we still need to see greater flexibility in how the apprenticeship levy can be used. The government’s renewed focus on FE, greater investment in technical and digital skills and a more flexible skills system must go hand in hand with high quality local delivery that responds quickly to the growth aspirations of business.”

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