From education to employment

Gerard Coyne calls for ‘free and fair’ lifelong vocational skills training as students join millions already shut out of government skills ‘guarantee’

@Gerard_Coyne has congratulated those students who have received their results this week – but warned many will miss out from the chance for lifelong learning as part of the government’s own ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’. 

The ‘Guarantee’ currently fails to support training in a host of key industries, including retail, and denies access to those who already have a Level 3 qualification following a record breaking return for A Level students this week. 

With the job market hugely uncertain, and the UK Government itself labelling the skills gap a ‘national calamity’ if left unaddressed, many students join millions of adults who are being denied the chance to train, retrain and upskill for free. Leading businesses from across key sectors, including construction, tech and the green economy, have all shed light on the scale of the growing skills crisis in recent months which could cost the UK billions. 

Gerard Coyne is calling on government to open up the existing ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’ and offer free lifelong vocational skills training to all adults – whilst also scrapping some of the conditions that currently hit poor and vulnerable families hardest. 

Coyne said: 

‘’Results week is special. Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard during such a challenging time to get their grades. 

Unfortunately, many will soon walk into a job market reeling from the pandemic and hamstrung by a growing skills crisis. 

Millions of adult workers are being held back and employers can’t get the technical skills they need. 

Now is the time to double down on supporting people, young and old, and from every background, to have the opportunity to continuously upskill.   

The government’s own big skills plan – the Lifetime Skills Guarantee – is on course to leave too many people behind unless it changes to improve access, support, and terms, including for those currently receiving Universal Credit and other benefits. 

The answer is a sweeping change. Our changing economy demands that free and fair vocational skills training be available to every adult as part of a renewed lifelong learning push that will help tackle the growing skills and jobs crisis across the country. 

If elected as General Secretary, that will be my unwavering stance with government. I’ll keep on the case until they deliver it.’’ 

Coyne has put skills front and centre in his bid to become the next General Secretary of Unite. He recently lambasted the UK government’s decision to cut the Union Learning Fund earlier this year – a skills and training support net that has helped millions of people since it began over 20 years ago. 

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