Today the Prime Minister announced a major expansion of post-18 education and training to level up and prepare workers for a post-Covid economy.
A New Lifetime Skills Guarantee from April will provide adults in England, without an A-Level or equivalent qualification, the opportunity to take up a free, fully funded college course. There will be more funding for SMEs taking on apprentices as well as greater flexibility in training structures to better reflect industry sector patterns. In addition, there will be an entitlement to new flexible loans to allow courses to be taken in segments, transfer credits between colleges and universities and enable more part-time study. This offer will be paid through the National Skills Fund – one of the Government's manifesto pledges and delivered by FE colleges.
Commenting, Richard said: "I welcome the opportunity to bridge the gap between further and higher education and increase flexibility in the funding system to support adults to train, retrain and upskill throughout their working lives. These are really important steps and there's a fantastic range of opportunities to get the country's workforce back on track and provide skills and jobs for millions."
There will also be over £1.5 billion capital funding in college buildings. A further £8 million will go to 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. Earlier this year, the Government launched a free online Skills Toolkit, helping people train in digital and numeracy skills. This is being expanded to include 62 additional courses.
The government is also tripling the number of places available through sector-based Work Academies, with an additional £17 million to provide the new skills for the unemployed to re-enter the jobs market. There will be £101 million to help 18 and 19-year-olds to take high value courses at Levels 2 and 3 where work opportunities are not available.