From education to employment

Government announces “lifelong loan entitlement” for skills development in Queen’s Speech

Today, the Government announced its intention to introduce a “lifelong loan entitlement”, as part of the Higher Education Bill. The bill, will allow people a loan equivalent to four years of university education that they can use over their lifetime to fund technical training. The government claims this will amount to a “seismic shift” for post-18 education.

Reacting to the news, Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft, said:

“Two years on, the ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant ‘Great Resignation’ are still being felt loudly across the economy. To address both the disruption in the UK labour market and the growing skills gap, adequate investment in learning and development remains crucial for prosperity. 

Last year’s Queen’s speech set out England’s skills “revolution’, pledging a lifetime commitment to closing the skills gap. However, while these initiatives have helped people take advantage of the opportunities available in the tech sector, the UK still isn’t set up to meet the challenge of broadening the population’s skills base and contend with the unwavering rate of technological change. 

Indeed, with 38% of IT leaders saying their existing skills development programmes are being “outpaced” by technology, ongoing investment is key. It’s promising, therefore, to see the UK Government taking this further by introducing a “lifelong loan entitlement” to give more people the opportunity to upskill and reskill throughout their careers. 

Continued action like this is critical to ensuring the UK’s skills mismatch is reduced. To make the global labour market less vulnerable to changing skills demands, governments and organisations alike must consider what we can do now to meet skills needs in 10, 20 or 50 years – taking action now, rather than down the road.”

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