From education to employment

The Autumn Budget – Thoughts from Mark Dawe

Thoughts from Mark Dawe, Chief Executive at The Skills Network

What are your initial thoughts on today’s announcements?

“Today’s announcement has demonstrated the importance of education and skills in the government’s agenda to build back better and level up.

“It was great to see a commitment of over £500m to both bootcamps and numeracy for adults – both crucial elements of the skills strategy and areas where The Skills Network will have a central role to play. Having been personally involved in adult literacy and numeracy throughout my career, to have such an explicit commitment is fantastic.

“Catchup funding to schools and colleges is desperately needed and while many will say it is not enough, a £2bn commitment is significant support and The Skills Network looks forward to continuing to support schools and colleges with resources to reach as many students as possible.

“Similarly, as a major provider of resources to the skills sector, a continued and increasing commitment to apprenticeships, traineeships, Kickstart and Restart is a welcome announcement.”

Is there anywhere you would like to see this investment directed?

“Following COP26, I would like to see a commitment to investment in supporting all students in the development of their understanding of sustainability and low carbon issues along with supporting education and training. Likewise, investment for employers in tackling the mental health issues of their workforce is demanded.

“It feels as if there is never enough funding for adult skills, particularly those first steps into work or progressing up the first rungs in a career.  Until we see the adult budget in the hands of the individual, to allow them to select exactly what is appropriate for them, we won’t see the necessary transformation in the adult skills system.  

“The shared prosperity fund, replacing ESF, gives a great opportunity to reform the whole adult skills system with substantially more funding in the control of the government and devolved authorities.”

Is there anything you feel was missed in today’s announcement?

“It was surprising that there was no announcement on the funding required for workforce development in the care sector – again supporting those entering the workforce and gaining the skills while working in the sector. This is something I hope will come out in the detail, including correcting the woefully underfunded care apprenticeship standards.

“There was a commitment to more training for the early years workforce which is to be welcomed, why not the care workforce who families across the UK rely on so heavily to support their loved ones.”

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