Landmark reforms that will transform post-16 education and training, boost skills and get more people into work, have been published by Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson.
The Government’s Skills for Jobs White Paper enshrines the Prime Minister’s new Lifetime Skills Guarantee, setting out a blueprint for a post-16 education system that will ensure everyone can gain the skills they need to progress in work at any stage of their lives.
The Lifetime Skills Guarantee will offer tens of thousands of adults the opportunity to retrain in later life, helping them to gain in-demand skills and open up further job opportunities. This includes the chance for adults without a full level 3 qualification to gain one from April 2021 for free in a range of sectors including engineering, health and accountancy.
Meanwhile, Skills Bootcamps – free, flexible courses of just 12-16 weeks – are giving adults the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. A Lifelong Loan Entitlement will also make it easier for adults and young people to study more flexibly, which can be used over their lifetime and for modules of a course.
• Business groups, including Chambers of Commerce, working alongside colleges to develop tailored skills plans to meet local training needs; supported by a £65 million Strategic Development Fund to put the plans into action and establish new College Business Centres to drive innovation and enhanced collaboration with employers.
• Giving employers a central role in designing almost all technical courses by 2030, to ensure that the education and training people receive is directly linked to the skills needed for real jobs.
• Boosting the quality and uptake of Higher Technical Qualifications – that provide the skills that many employers say they need and that can lead to higher wages – by introducing newly approved qualifications from September 2022 supported by a Government-backed brand and quality mark.
• Changing the law so that from 2025 people can access flexible student finance so they can train and retrain throughout their lives, supported by funding in 21/22 to test ways to boost access to more modular and flexible learning.
• Launching a nationwide recruitment campaign to get more talented individuals to teach in further education and investing in high quality professional development including a new Workforce Industry Exchange Programme.
In addition, the White Paper identifies overhauling the funding and accountability rules, so funding is better targeted at supporting high quality education and training that meets the needs of employers; and introducing new powers to intervene when colleges are failing to deliver good outcomes for the communities they serve.
To coincide with the publication of the White Paper, the Government has published its interim response to the review of Post-18 Education and Funding. The interim response details immediate plans to re-balance technical and academic education and future reforms with the higher education Teaching Grant. The final conclusion to the Post-18 review will be set out at the next Comprehensive Spending Review.