We have launched landmark reforms that will transform post-16 education and training, boost skills and get more people into work.
They will benefit both young people who are starting their careers and adults who may be thinking of retraining or returning to education.
What are the new reforms?
They are focused on giving people the skills they need, in a way that suits them, so they can get great jobs in sectors the economy needs and boost this country’s productivity. They put employers at the centre of the system meaning the training people are getting matches what they need in workplaces.
The Skills for Jobs White Paper enshrines the Prime Minister’s new Lifetime Skills Guarantee and sets out a blueprint for a post-16 education system that will ensure everyone, no matter where they live or their background, can gain the skills they need to progress in work at any stage of their lives.
It is going to bring together colleges and other providers, employers and local players, who will all work together to identify exactly what an area needs in terms of skills and then to deliver them in partnership.
So what does this mean for 15/16-year-olds who are looking at post-16 education options?
The new measures will put an end to the illusion that a degree is the only route to success and a good job, and that further and technical education is the second-class option.
There will be clearer pathways for young people to progress into higher level training or skilled employment, and more high-quality technical provision will ensure more people want to take up technical training.
£83m has also been invested so that FE colleges and sixth form colleges are able to expand their capacity to accommodate the growing 16-19-year-old population.
What about adults who are keen to retrain or return to education?
The reforms will offer adults a range of new prospects and will offer tens of thousands the opportunity to retrain in later life, helping them to gain in-demand skills and open up further job options.
This includes the chance for any adult aged 24 and over without a full level 3 qualification (A-level equivalent) to gain one from April 2021 for free in a range of sectors including engineering, health and accountancy.
Flexibility is going to be the cornerstone for supporting adults who need to retrain and upskill at any point in their working lives. Students will have the chance to take more modular courses which make full use of online teaching and blended learning. This will in turn make them more accessible and convenient for those who sign up for them.
From 2025 the government will offer a Lifelong Loan Entitlement, equivalent to four years of post-18 education.
In addition, the new flexible skills bootcamp training will give people the technical skills they need for great jobs through 12 to 16-week courses, including a fast-track to interview.
What about if I am an employer? What do these reforms mean for me?
Employers are being placed at the heart of the system and by 2030, almost all technical courses will be on employer-led standards, ensuring that the education and training people receive are directly linked to the skills needed for jobs.
This offers the opportunity to work with employers to identify what the skills gaps are and the jobs that businesses are creating and will need to create in the future to make their businesses successful.
The department also wants local areas to be able to plan what skills they need, and think local employers are best placed to lead this process. This will be seen with the Local Skills Improvement Plans which will be led by business representative organisations, starting with a small number of trailblazer areas in 2021.