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PM Announces Lifetime Skills Guarantee

On 29th September 2020, Boris Johnson delivered a speech regarding Further Education colleges and the Lifetime Skills Guarantee. 

He praised colleges for their work on helping individuals attain practical skills which are relevant in the current world, “we need those practical skills collectively, as a society and as an economy – more than ever.” 

The Prime Minister has announced the ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’ programme which will “help people train and retrain– at any stage in their lives – and enable us not just to come through this crisis, but to come back stronger, and build back better.”

Outlined in this new scheme are the following:

  • The FE white paper will be published this year
  • The National Skills Fund (£500 million a year from April 2021 onwards) will be used to fund an all-age level 3 entitlement (ie. not restricted for under 24 year olds). DfE will publish a list of eligible courses next month so this entitlement will be restricted to skills that are ‘valued by employers’. There are also no additional funds for living costs so the attitude of DWP to study will matter for those on universal credit.
  • The government will introduce legislation to extend the scope of HE loans to cover more L4  and L5 courses (higher technical education) in line with the Post 18 review recommendation. DfE also plans a lifetime loan allowance which would remove the need for equivalent and lower qualification rules.
  • Re-announces the £1.5 billion FE capital fund, £200 million of which was distributed to FE colleges by formula in September 2020. We expect DfE to announce bidding arrangements for post-2021 funds in the autumn.
  • Some proposals on apprenticeships including a promise of more training funding for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and more flexibility about how levy paying employers can use their funds. We assume these measures will be funded from the existing £2 billlion a year apprenticeship budget.

Here at Brooklands College, we are pleased to welcome these new changes which would have positive effects on the Further Education system in the UK.

“This is excellent news for the sector and places colleges at the heart of recovery. We will be responsive to meeting the needs of our local community and enhancing life chances for local people and employers as we work towards a more sustainable future.” Christine Ricketts, Brooklands College Principal

“We believe that colleges should play a bigger part in a more collaborative education and skills system that allows people to train and retrain throughout their lives. Today’s speech is a strong sign that this thinking will form much of the foundation for the upcoming FE white paper and develop a system that works for all adults and not just those fortunate enough to go to university.“ David Hughes, AoC Chief Executive 

Read the full speech from Boris Johnson

Read the full response from AoC

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