To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department’s strategy is on retraining and reskilling people over the age of 60 who have become unemployed since the start of the covid-19 outbreak and who may struggle to find employment again.
5 November 2020
The Government’s Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people, including older workers, get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and build the skills they need to get into work. This includes doubling the number of Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches, increasing the number of sector-based work academy placements which support unemployed claimants of all ages through training and work experience to find a job, and a new online job finding support service.
DWP launched an online mid-life MOT in 2019, which aims to engage individuals more actively in health, finance and skills planning. The MOT directs individuals to the National Careers Service which offers a universal service for adults in England including people aged 50 years and over who are unemployed or at risk of unemployment. This should be of particular benefit for those out of work due to COVID-19 who may need to retrain or pivot career.
Adult skills?are?key in supporting the economy and tackling disadvantage and we are working with the Department for Education who are continuing to invest £1.34 billion in 2020/21 in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB). The principal purpose of the AEB is to engage adults and provide the skills and learning they need to equip them for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. From 1 August 2019, adults with limited digital skills can get access to fully funded specified digital skills qualifications. The AEB also funds learning in the workplace, where a learner has a statutory entitlement to full funding.
On 29 September, the Prime Minister also announced the launch of new digital bootcamps, in six areas, to support local regions and employers to fill in-demand vacancies. The bootcamp training courses will provide valuable skills based on employer demand and will offer a fast track to a job interview on completion. Pending the success of the initial bootcamps, the Department for Education are planning to expand the digital bootcamps to more of the country from Spring 2021 and we also want to extend this model to include other technical skills training.