As the economy changes and the effects of COVID-19 continue, the Government is right to develop a long-term plan to ensure that people have the skills to find and create new and better jobs.
The Lifetime Skills Guarantee will, from April, provide adults in England without an A-Level or equivalent qualification the opportunity to take up a free and fully-funded college course.
People utilising this offer will be provided with skills which are valued by employers and the chance to study at a time and location which suits their own circumstances. This offer will be paid for through the National Skills Fund, itself a commitment made in the manifesto I stood on at the last General Election, with a full list of available courses to be set out shortly.
This plan builds on the free online Skills Toolkit, which launched earlier this year, and helps people train in digital and numeracy skills, either from home or in the office. Already ranging from ‘everyday maths’ to an introductory course on coding, this initiative has been expanded to include more than 60 additional courses.
By making higher education loans more flexible, adults and young people will be able to have more of a decision over the length and type of course they want to undertake.
This will not only enable people to take more high-quality vocational courses in further education colleges and universities, but will also provide assistance for those looking to retrain.
This will help facilitate life-long learning, and help people break up their studying into segments, allow for more part-time study, and to transfer credits between different establishments.
Support for apprentices and apprenticeships is also vital. The Plan for Jobs will see significant cash incentives for businesses to support people into work.
Firms will be paid £1,000 to take on trainees, with £111 million to triple the scale of traineeships, consisting of work experience placements, training and work preparation for 16- to 24-year olds. Employers will be provided with £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under 25 and £1,500 for any apprentice over that age.
The £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will directly support businesses to create new and high-quality jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds at risk of long-term unemployment. The funding for each position will cover their full National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, for six months in total in addition to an administration fee, totalling a grant of around £6,500 per placement.
This support will be vital in rebuilding our economy. Programmes such as these will make a real difference to people’s lives.
Henry Smith MP