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Unemployed: Training

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL1186, tabled on 16 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that skills training programmes in emerging job markets are accessible for unemployed individuals.

Answered on

29 June 2021

The ‘Skills for Jobs’ white paper, published in January 2021, sets out our blueprint to reform post-16 education and training. It is focused on giving people the skills they need, in a way that suits them, so they can get jobs in sectors the economy needs and boost this country’s productivity.

We are supporting the largest-ever expansion of traineeships, providing funding for an additional 30,000 places in the 2020/21 academic year and a further 43,000 in the 2021/22 academic year, to ensure that more young people, with little or no work experience, have access to high-quality training. This includes providing £1,000 incentive payments for employers offering work placements. We are introducing occupational traineeships which are aligned to apprenticeship standards and will significantly increase the opportunities for young people to progress into apprenticeships or other employment.

We are also committed to supporting more people to benefit from the high-quality training that apprenticeships offer across a range of sectors, including those at the start of their career or those looking to retrain. To help employers offer new apprenticeships, employers can claim £3,000 for each apprentice they take on as a new employee. We are also working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to enable Kickstart placements to turn into apprenticeships where that is the best option. We have also made a special provision to allow employers taking on ‘Kickstarters’ as apprentices to be eligible for the incentive payment, supporting a pathway between the schemes.

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3. This will support adults to gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. This includes fully funded statutory entitlements in English and maths, up to and including level 2, fully funded first full level 2 and/or level 3 for learners aged 19 to 23 and fully funded specified digital skills qualifications, up to and including level 1. Unemployed individuals can benefit from the four statutory entitlements within the AEB. We continue to provide fully funded training up to Level 2 for unemployed people aged 19 and over through the AEB.

Led by DWP, sector based work academy programmes (SWAPs) help employers with immediate and future employment needs by upskilling job seekers to fill locally identified vacancies. SWAPs will enable unemployed individuals to acquire the skills needed for local jobs. We remain committed to supporting DWP with training placements for the planned increase in the number of SWAP starts, during the 2021/22 financial year.

From 1 April 2021, the government is supporting any adult who does not have A-levels or equivalent qualifications, to access almost 400 fully funded level 3 courses, with Free Courses for Jobs. The qualifications on offer range from engineering to social care to conservation, supporting adults to gain skills sought by employers.

Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. Skills Bootcamps are available to adults aged 19 and over, who are in work or recently unemployed. People claiming Universal Credit are now able to access a greater range of these courses following an extension to the length of time they can attend work-focused study. The DWP has extended the length of time Universal Credit claimants can spend on full-time training from up to 8 weeks to up to 12 weeks throughout the UK, and up to 16 weeks in England for the purpose of attending Skills Bootcamps. This increase opens up a significant range of training opportunities for people claiming Universal Credit, including many courses which have been introduced as part of the Free Courses for Jobs offer. This will allow unemployed adults access to more training options and provide a better chance of finding work, while continuing to receive the support they need.