From education to employment

Only 1 in 20 ‘skills bootcamp’ places go to over 55s

older woman working on laptop

New data uncovered by Labour has revealed that less than one in 20 new starters on the Government’s ‘skills bootcamps’ are aged between 55 and 67.

Skills bootcamps involve free courses lasting up to 16 weeks, and a meant to help learners build up sector-specific skills and take up opportunities with local employers. They are available to adults aged 19 or over who live in England. Claimants of jobseeker benefits like Universal Credit can take part and continue to receive their payments.

Earlier this year, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt claimed that skills bootcamps to get over 50s back to work would help “our businesses to plug their skills gaps”.

But a parliamentary question from Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, revealed that just under 5% of starts on a skills bootcamp during an evaluation of the scheme were by those aged 55 and above.

This means older workers were grossly underrepresented in the uptake of skills bootcamps. While 55-67-year-olds represented only 5% of starts on the courses, they represent a whopping 25% of the 19-67-year-old population of England.

Labour has slammed this as a betrayal of the Conservatives’ promises to help older workers back into the labour market, arguing that the Government is failing to equip over-55s with new skills to find work.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:

“Thousands of people in their 50s are out of work but desperate to find a good jobs and need help with re-skilling. Instead of helping people in their 50s move into work or re-skill, this analysis shows they have been abandoned to the scrap heap by the Tories.

“The results are clear: the employment rate for over 50s is still lower than it was before the pandemic.

“People in their 50s have talents and experience that our economy needs. A Labour government will create good jobs across every part of the country, and our welfare reform and job support plan will get Britain working again as part of our mission to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7.”

Related Articles