From education to employment


#SpendingReview – HUNDREDS of thousands of people are set to benefit from a multi-billion pound #SkillsRevolution that will spread opportunity across the country and build a stronger economy, the Chancellor is expected to announce on Wednesday.

  • £3 billion investment to build a high wage, high skill economy building on the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee.
  • Life changing opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people to get the skills they want.
  • Investment in 16 to 19-year-olds doubled and the number of skills bootcamps quadrupled.

At next week’s Budget and Spending Review, Rishi Sunak will unveil a £3 billion investment to turbo-charge post-16 education and ensure people have the skills they need to get on in life, find jobs and earn more.

Building on the government’s Plan for Jobs – which has already invested billions in apprenticeships, traineeships, and the Kickstart scheme –  and the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee this new injection of money will quadruple the number of places on skills bootcamps, fund additional classroom hours for up to 100,000 16 to 19-year-olds studying T levels and create 24,000 traineeships.

Rishi Sunak 100x100Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

“Our future economic success depends not just on the education we give to our children but the lifelong learning we offer to adults. 

“This £3 billion skills revolution builds on our Plan for Jobs and will spread opportunity across the UK by transforming post-16 education – giving people the skills they need to earn more and get on in life.”

Nadhim 100x100Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:

“We are supporting people to gain the skills they need to secure great jobs.

“Our skills reforms and this additional investment will support more people to continue to upskill and retrain throughout their lives and open the door to careers in high skilled industries.”

david hughes 100 x100David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges said:

“Every sector has been waiting for the CSR with bated breath. With so many competing economic challenges, it was always going to be tough for the Chancellor, so it is encouraging to see increased investment in skills and education.

“The Prime Minister has led the way with strong and promising rhetoric around levelling up and investing in young people as well as adults, so it’s good to see those words backed up with money.

“We always expected the increased funding wouldn’t go far enough, but in the circumstances we view this as a good start in a tough spending round. That the Chancellor is leading with this announcement in advance of the CSR shows just how far we’ve come in making the government recognise the importance of investing in people to close the skills gap. 

“As an optimist, I am hopeful that the lack of mention of education recovery is because of a significant announcement on Wednesday at the dispatch box.

“At the Association of Colleges, we have been clear that it is going to take at least £300 million per year to support education recovery for 16-to-19-year-olds. They have had the biggest disruption at a critical time in their lives and studies, but now have the least amount of time left in education and training to catch up.

“The entire college sector will be watching on Wednesday to see whether the government invests in their learning and skills to help them level up.”

Lisa OLoughlinLisa O’Loughlin, Principal at The Manchester College, commented:

“In recent weeks we have been encouraged by the government’s renewed focus on education, skills and training as the solution to the current skills gaps that many sectors are seeing and its commitment to creating a high skill, high wage economy. We take heart from the fact that this focus has translated into action, with the investment that the Chancellor announced yesterday for T Levels and adult courses showing a clear intent that builds upon, and aligns with, the National Skills Fund that will provide a free Level 3 course for any adult that doesn’t already have a Level 3 qualification.

“However, while this new investment in technical education and adult skills is incredibly welcome as it addresses two key priority areas, it does not go far enough if the government wants to seriously ensure that the further education sector is really empowered to play its part in the post-Covid economic recovery and levelling up agenda.

“To give some context of the funding requirements the sector is facing, the IFS estimates that an extra £570m in funding will be required for the start of the 22/23 academic year, on top of the commitments made in 2020, for the sector to simply keep pace with the population growth in younger demographics. This funding gap is compounded by the fact that over the last decade there has been an 11% cut in real terms per-pupil funding that further education College’s receive, highlighting the extreme pressures that College’s now face to continually do more with less. While colleges have done a fantastic job of providing a careers focussed alternative to A Levels, it would be fair to say that the sector is rapidly approaching the limit of what it can realistically achieve with the funding it has available.

“If the government is serious about what it says, it is critical that it properly funds the FE sector in both the budget and comprehensive spending review to ensure that providers such as ourselves can provide a high quality technical education to communities. This funding is desperately needed if we are going to ensure that people can acquire all the skills they need to address the growing number of skill gaps that exist in our economy and ensure that nobody is left behind  when it comes to having the opportunity to have a successful and rewarding career.

“As such our hope is that this weekend’s commitments are a warm-up for further investment announcements in Wednesday’s and that we will receive further funding that will ensure that the sector can deliver both courses to adults who want to retrain and offer a high quality provision that will equip young people with all the knowledge and skills they will need to become the next generation of industry excellence.”

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“This money is welcome and post-16 training and skills for employment is important. But the learning and experiences children and young people have had earlier in their lives, to help them get to that point, is also important. We need to see investment from Treasury next week into education the whole way through.”

Small firms welcome focus on numeracy in new Budget announcement

mike cherry 100x100Responding to news that the Government will announce a new programme of personalised maths coaching for adults with low numeracy skills to improve the maths skills of adults across the UK at next week’s Budget, Mike Cherry, FSB National Chair, said:

“It’s good to see a new focus on improving skills like numeracy and literacy. These are the skills that people need to be equipped with to be successful in today’s tough jobs market, and we know those furthest from work often struggle with maths. It’s crucial that at every age people have the opportunity to pick up new skills that they might not have learned in school.

“Many businesses are currently struggling to fill vacancies in sectors like hospitality and this will help by expanding the potential pool of those eligible. After being equipped with these vital skills, we know small employers are excellent at providing local opportunities and further upskilling.

“With funding being distributed through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), it’s critical that small firms are at the front and centre of this, with a specific focus on businesses based in areas that need levelling up. Policymakers must realise the ambition of business owners in these areas. Providing the right support here will really ramp up productivity. It’s important that each part of the UK at least maintains previous levels of business support funding under the UKSPF when further details are announced.

“It’s critical this sits alongside measures to boost small firms ability to recover and employ. Expanding the Small Business Rates Relief to a rateable value of £25,000, removing hundreds of thousands of small firms from the scope of this tax, would make a huge difference to small firms in these regions, along with increasing the Employment Allowance, saving small businesses £5,000 rather than £4,000 on their annual jobs tax bills, and help them invest in their staff themselves.”

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“It is absolutely right to be investing in adult skills, but this must be alongside proper investment in education recovery for the 8 million children and young people in schools now, otherwise the demand for this sort of intervention and investment will just continue to spiral.”

The new investment includes £1.6 billion for 16-19 education to boost college funding and provide additional classroom hours for up to 100,000 young people taking T levels so more 16- to 19-year-olds get qualifications in high skilled industries that will fuel future growth.

A total of £830 million will be allocated to revitalising existing colleges in England, and further funding will secure top of the range equipment and facilities to ensure that young people taking T Levels have the industry ready skills they need.

The National Skills Fund will be boosted with a total investment of £550 million to make sure adults, at any age, can upskill to reach their potential, transforming lives.

Through this fund the number of places on skills bootcamps, which forms part of the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, will be quadrupled, giving more adults than ever before a place on employer-led 3-4 month intensive courses growth industries like AI, cybersecurity, and nuclear.

Mr Sunak will also announce the expansion of free Level 3 courses for adults (equivalent to A Levels) also part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, in high value subjects like Maths, Chemistry and Biology which are proven to boost incomes by 16% on average. This will be on top of an additional 24,000 new traineeships a year.

Apprenticeship funding will increase by £170 million to a record high of £2.7 billion in 2024-25 alongside new improvements to support more small businesses to hire new apprentices and to show employers in seeing just how much an apprentice would benefit their business.

Skills will also be heart of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will increase to £1.5 billion a year meeting the Government’s manifesto commitment, targeting investment in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s needs, rather than to meet EU-set objectives.

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