Major expansion of post-18 education and training for post-COVID economy
The Prime Minister has 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.
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.
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.
The government is also committing £8 million for digital skills boot camps; expanding successful pilots in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands and introducing programmes in four new locations.
From next year, boot camps will be extended to sectors like construction and engineering, helping the country build back better and support our refreshed Industrial Strategy.
Earlier this year the government launched its free online Skills Toolkit, helping people train in digital and numeracy skills. This is being expanded today to include 62 additional courses.
£2.5 billion is also being made available through the National Skills Fund to help get people working again after COVID, as well as giving those in work the chance to train for higher-skilled, better-paid jobs.
Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems, said:
“It’s more important than ever that government and industry work together to help young people and adults gain the skills needed to work in sectors which will support our nation’s economic recovery. As a major employer of graduates and apprentices, BAE Systems’ investment in skills provides an essential pipeline of talent that enables us to continue to deliver cutting-edge defence and security capabilities, essential to our national security.”