The Government has today announced the launch of hundreds of new free qualifications. According to the Government, the qualifications mark a major milestone for the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee.
Backed by £95 million in funding in 2021/22, the Department for Education has made 400 new qualifications available. It is estimated that 11 million adults will have the opportunity to gain a new qualification for free.
The qualifications, designed to help individuals develop in-demand skills and secure better jobs, range from courses on engineering to social care to conservation. The qualifications are available to any adult who has not already achieved a qualification at Level 3.
The roll out forms part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee which was announced by the Prime Minister in September 2020. According to the Government, ‘The Guarantee aims to transform the skills system so everyone can gain the skills they need to progress in work at any stage of their lives. It is also designed to ensure employers have access to the skilled workforce they need, and more people are trained for the skills gaps that exist now, and in the future.’
So more unemployed people can take full advantage of these courses, the Government have announced that they will pilot an extension to the length of time individuals can receive Universal Credit while undertaking work-focused study. Under this pilot, people will be able to full time for up to 12 weeks, or up to 16 weeks on a full time skills bootcamp in England, while receiving Universal Credit to support their living costs
The government’s Skills for Jobs White Paper, published in January, enshrines the Lifetime Skills Guarantee. The White Paper sets reforms that aim to realign the post-16 education system around the needs of employers. According to the Department for Education, this will allow people to be trained for the skills gaps that exist now in sectors the economy needs, including digital, clean energy and manufacturing.
The White Paper forms a key part of the government’s Plan for Jobs which aims to support and create jobs across the country.