The Department for Education has published a Skills for Jobs white paper that sets out reforms to post-16 technical education and training, with the aim being to support people with skills development and help them secure good jobs, while improving national productivity.
The paper suggests a series of reforms to ensure that everyone develops the skills they need, no matter what stage of life they’re at.
These include making £2.5 billion available to help support apprenticeships and increase access for smaller businesses, employability and skills bootcamps for critical skills needs, lifelong national careers advice and free qualifications for any adult who doesn’t have an existing full level 3 qualification.
It was also suggested that it will be necessary to build on the apprenticeship reforms that were brought in with the apprenticeship levy, focusing on employer needs. Funding will be available in pilot areas from 2021/2022 that will place employers at the heart of identifying skills gaps, working alongside training providers to shape how support is provided.
The Chambers of Commerce and other business representative organisations will lead employer representation, based on local skills improvement plans in order to meet local labour market needs. The hope is that there will be a national system of employer-led standards by the year 2030.
As well as financial support, the paper has identified how important flexibility within learning is, as well as the need to build on the digital learning that has been delivered during the pandemic.
It has been seen that, in some areas, online and blending learning has driven improvements in engagement, so funding rules for training will make sure that a combination of in-person and online education can continue.
The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) welcomed the publication of the white paper, with chief executive of the organisation David Russell saying: “We are very pleased to see the White Paper published, setting out a supportive ambition for the further education sector and giving such prominence to the quality of teaching.
“We will work with the government and our partners to consider how best to respond positively to these opportunities with our plans for workforce development support for the sector over the next year and beyond.”
The government has also just announced that new teaching school hubs will be rolled out around the UK to provide high-quality professional development to teachers and leaders.
There will be 81 hubs in total, providing professional development support to professionals at all stages of their career, with each hub up and running by September this year. They will also help to deliver the Early Career Framework reforms, as well as delivering a reformed suite of National Professional Qualifications.
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