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Vocational Education: Coastal Areas

Question for Department for Education

UIN 105761, tabled on 17 January 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on improving the provision of technical education in coastal towns; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

25 January 2022

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and officials within his department meet with counterparts in other government departments regularly to discuss education and skills matters.

In 2021 the department worked with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and other government departments, by contributing to its work on the Future of Seaside Towns and setting out the department’s proposals to boost skills and technical education around the country, including in coastal towns.

We are investing £3.8 billion more in further education and skills over the Parliament as a whole, to ensure people can access high-quality training and education that leads to good jobs, addresses skills gaps, boosts productivity and supports levelling up. This includes more investment for apprenticeships and employers in coastal communities can access funding for apprenticeships to meet their skills needs.

We have also launched T Levels, which are world-class programmes developed with over 250 leading employers to the same quality standards as apprenticeships and will ensure more young people gain the skills and knowledge demanded by employers. T Levels are already being delivered across the country, including in coastal areas such as Scarborough and Blackpool.

The government is rolling out Local Skills Improvement Plans, which will set out the key changes needed to make technical education and training more responsive to local labour market skills needs. They will be developed by local employer representative bodies working closely with further education colleges, other providers and key local stakeholders, and will be tailored to the challenges and opportunities most relevant to local areas. We have started by trailblazing these Plans in eight local areas across England in 2021-22, including in Cumbria, Kent, Sussex and Tees Valley, which have coastal towns.