We are reforming post-16 education and training so more people can get the skills they need and secure great jobs.
That’s why last week we introduced The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill into Parliament.
This landmark Bill will support vital reforms to post-16 education and training.
1. Prioritising local needs and local people
We know that there is a serious skills shortage throughout our economy, holding people back from working in highly skilled jobs and stopping employers getting the workforce they need.
In 2019 employers reported that they were unable to fill a quarter of all vacant positions due to not finding people with the right skills. Skills shortages accounted for 36 per cent of all construction vacancies, and 48 per cent of all manufacturing and skilled trade vacancies.
This is why we are listening to local employers and offering the training that meets their needs. The Bill will help address this by making it a legal requirement for colleges and other training providers to collaborate with local employers, helping to develop skills plans so the training on offer meets the needs of businesses and labour market needs of local communities.
This will support more people into work, and locally so they no longer need to leave their local areas to seek education or well paid jobs.
2. Flexible study options supported by student finance
We want everyone to be able to gain the skills they want, when they need them and in a way that works for them, so they can retrain or upskill and access well paid jobs.
The Bill will support the introduction of a Lifelong Loan Entitlement that will transform the current student loans system so that adults will be able to access a flexible loan entitlement to the equivalent of 4 years of student loans for higher-level study and training at university or college.
The loans will open opportunities for more people to study across their lifetime, for full-time or part-time study, for modules or full qualifications, for high-quality technical qualifications and academic education.
3. Boosting the quality of education and training on offer
The bill will help make sure we can continue to offer high quality post-16 education and training to as many people as possible.
New powers will be introduced so that when colleges are failing to deliver good outcomes for their students and communities, we can intervene quickly where needed to ensure colleges improve.
The bill also makes clear the power of the Office for Students – the higher education regulator – to enforce minimum requirements for universities on student outcomes, helping them to tackle low quality opportunities and provision, helping to drive up standards.