First major development in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee announced

Government are offering free Level 3 adult qualifications and Skills Bootcamps as part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee announced by the Prime Minister in a speech in September 2020.

As part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, from April 2021 adults without A-Levels or equivalent will be eligible to study for a free Level 3 qualification. Those aged 24 and above will be able to choose from nearly 400 courses, linking to jobs in a range of sectors such as building and construction, teaching and lecturing, engineering, and environmental conservation. The full list of courses available can be found here.

The qualifications have been selected to help adults get ahead in work and boost their job prospects. They will be reviewed regularly so the courses offered can be updated as the economy changes. The offer is backed by £95 million from the £2.5 billion National Skills Fund which is financing programmes that both support the immediate economic recovery and help meet future skills needs.

Government has also launched Skills Bootcamps that offer flexible courses of just 12-16 weeks, giving adults aged 19+ the opportunity to build sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. Skills Bootcamps are currently available in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, the Liverpool City Region, the Leeds City Region, Heart of the Southwest, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, covering digital skills such as software development, digital marketing, and data analytics but also technical skills training in such areas as welding, engineering, and construction. In 2021, the Skills Bootcamps will expand into new areas and subjects. If your business is based in one of these areas, please visit your local authority website to find out more.

Alongside the new Level 3 offer, the Lifetime Skill Guarantee will also include a Lifelong Loan Entitlement which will allow adults and young people to space out their study across their lifetimes and take high-quality courses in both further education colleges and universities. techUK welcomes this as an effective way of ensuring people at any point in their working lives are able to access funding to upskill or retrain.

53% of UK employees do not have the essential digital skills required for the workplace today, and by 2030, an additional 7 million workers (20 per cent of the current UK labour market) could be under-skilled for their job. As new technologies become more widespread, the nature of work will change, and whole new industries and roles will be created. We need to enable companies to take advantage of these opportunities and prepare the workforce to adapt to these changes.

This announcement is an important step in the development of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee which techUK hopes will help employers fill their digital skills gaps and support adults to boost their job prospects, not only during this time of economic uncertainty, but in the face of the increasing digitalisation of jobs. techUK is keen to see Government continue to work with the Local Digital Skills Partnerships and industry to fill skills gaps at local levels.

Nimmi Patel

Nimmi Patel

Policy Manager, Skills, Talent and Diversity, techUK

Nimmi Patel is the Policy Manager for Skills, Talent and Diversity at techUK.

She works on all things skills policy, focusing on upskilling and retrain. She is committed to embedding diversity in the UK tech pipeline from classroom to boardroom working with partners such as the Tech Talent Charter and the WISE Campaign. Nimmi also leads techUK’s immigration work, collaborating with techUK members and stakeholders to create an environment that attracts the best talent to the UK.

Prior to joining the team, she worked for the UK Labour Party and New Zealand Labour Party and holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Manchester and is currently studying MA Strategic Communications at King’s College London.

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