Prime Minister’s Speech on Training and Skills Funding

Baskar Sundaram
Baskar Sundaram

The Prime Minister has set out the Government’s latest measures designed at boosting adult learning and skills funding. This follows the press release published this morning.

Mr Johnson announced that adults in England without an A-level or equivalent qualification will be offered a fully funded college course. Funding for courses offering “skills valued by employers” will be made available from next April and will be paid for through the National Skills Fund. A full list of available courses will be set out shortly.

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.

In a briefing sent to the BSA, the Education And Skills Funding Agency confirmed that “as the Chancellor set out in the Budget, we will look again at the Apprenticeship Levy and support large employers to spend surplus levy funds with local employers and businesses in their supply chains in bulk, rather than see their funds expiring”. The BSA will continue to call for greater flexibilities surrounding the levy as part of our engagement at both a ministerial and departmental level. We thank members for their continued feedback and support in this regard.

The newly introduced Lifetime Skills Guarantee aims to give adults the chance to take free college courses valued by employers and there will be a new entitlement to flexible loans to allow courses to be taken in segments, boosting opportunities to retrain and enhancing the nation’s technical skills.

FE colleges will get access to the higher education funding system for some courses. Eventually the Government wants to ensure that every student gets access to four years of post-18 education. These reforms will be backed by continued investment in college buildings and facilities – including over £1.5bn in capital funding. More details will be set out in a further education white paper later this year.

Boot camps are employer-led, short, flexible training courses for adults, linked to guaranteed interviews and tailored to meet business and economic demand across the country. The first phase of boot camps will start over the next few weeks in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool with digital courses such as cloud services, full stack, digital for advanced manufacturing and cyber security.

Some of these courses will be aimed at specific groups such as a Women in Tech course. The second phase of boot camps will be trialled in West Yorkshire, the South West and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

The Prime Minister is also due to hold a press conference tomorrow with Professor Chris Whitty, the Government’s Chief Medical Adviser, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser.

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