Government announces legislation to embed employers into the UK’s skills training system

Bucks Skills Hub website

The Skills and post-16 Education Bill has been introduced in Parliament, to kick start the government’s skills and training revolution.

The Bill comes as new figures show that further and technical education provision is already estimated to boost the economy by £26 billion. This sets the stage for a new outlook for post-16 education where every young adult has a range of opportunities open to them, removing the illusion that a degree is the only path to a good career.

The government says that the reforms outlined in the Bill will help to create more routes into skilled employment in sectors the economy needs such as engineering, digital, clean energy and manufacturing.

Today, a new fund has been launched to future proof post-16 provision with a £83 million Post-16 Capacity fund.

Providers are invited to bid for a share of the fund, which will support projects to create more space for areas where there is due to be a demographic increase in 16-19 year olds in the 2022/23 academic year. This could include building more classroom space or technical teaching facilities, so providers can continue to offer places to every young person who needs one.

The key measures introduced in today’s Bill are:

  • Embedding employers in the heart of the skills system, by making it a legal requirement that employers and colleges collaborate to develop skills plans so that the training on offer meets the need of local areas, and so people no longer have to leave their home-towns to find great jobs.
  • Supporting the transformation of the current student loans system which will give every adult access to a flexible loan for higher-level education and training at university or college, useable at any point in their lives.
  • Introducing new powers to intervene when colleges are failing to deliver good outcomes for the communities they serve, and to direct structural change where needed to ensure colleges improve.

Many of the skills that employers are demanding require intermediate or Higher Technical Qualifications – but only four per cent of young people achieve a qualification at higher technical level by the age of 25 compared to the 33 per cent who get a degree or above. Evidence also shows these qualifications can lead to jobs with higher wages than degrees.