From education to employment

The wisdom of being prepared

John Hayes MP is Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning

Recent heavy relentless rain irresistibly reminded me of Noah and the Ark. Not so much from a desire that I’d paid greater attention to woodwork classes at school but as a reflection on the lesson that Noah’s experience teaches us about the wisdom of being prepared.

That same principle is writ large in our proposals for new financial support arrangements for adult learners in further education. Like the animals in the Ark, the introduction of loans for many learners aged 24 and over is mainly intended to ensure that no one is left out.

No one will be obliged to take out a loan. But their availability should mean that no adult is prevented from improving their knowledge and skills by lack of funds.

Moreover, on 12 July we announced plans for a £50 million bursary fund to provide extra, non-repayable help to learners from disadvantaged groups with additional needs as a result of obstacles that are no fault of their own. The bursaries will be allocated to individuals by colleges and other training organisations in the light of their students’ particular needs. I am also keen to encourage and support them on access to HE courses.

I know that anyone can benefit from continuing to learn through life. These new support arrangements will ensure that individuals, from wherever they begin, can pursue their chosen path in life, and that no one need be left out in the rain.

John Hayes MP is Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning

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