Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable and Skills Minister John Hayes launched the Government’s strategy for skills, Skills for Sustainable Growth.
The plan to reform Further Education and the skills system was presented at the annual Association of Colleges conference in Birmingham.
A document also presented today, Investing in Skills for Sustainable Growth, explains how the Government intends to achieve its goals by investing strategically, knowing savings are going to have to be made.
Cable said the Government is determined to address current failings in skills training, a necessary step towards sustainable growth.
“We are not in a position to throw money at the problem, but even against the backdrop of reductions, resources will be found to expand the apprenticeship programme for adults and support more people undertaking an increasingly respected form of vocational training,” he added.
The reform of the skills systems includes:
– a £650m investment in adult apprenticeships in 2011-2012 and a higher number of apprenticeships available (by 2014-2015 there will be 75,000 more adults able to start one);
– the improvement of the apprenticeships package (progression pathways will be made clearer, with level 3 becoming the level to achieve);
– the fully funding of young adults’ training when they don’t already have a level 2 or 3 qualification;
– a protected investment of £210m in adult and community learning;
– Government-backed loans from 2013-2014 for learners aged 24 undertaking level 3 or higher education;
– a demand-led growth and innovation fund of up to £50m of Goverment investment a year, to support employer-led initiatives within sectors and promote management in SMEs;
– replacing Train and Gain with a different programme, specifically focused on SMEs;
– a reduction of bureaucracy;
– training to help those seeking a job.
Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Minister John Hayes, said, “Despite a reduction in the FE and Skills budget, we are continuing to protect and invest in programmes that provide the highest quality and greatest benefit to the maximum number of people.”
In his speech today, Cable also announced that funding for a National Skills Academy for Rail Engineering was approved. It will receive £2.7 million of funding from Government, which will be matched by £2.2 million from employers.