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Update on Skills Education

Statement made on 20 April 2021

Statement UIN HCWS927


As we build back better from the pandemic, we are announcing plans which build on the reforms set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper, putting employers at the heart of plans to make sure people have the skills they need to get good jobs.

Today (20th April 2021) we are launching a consultation on flexi-job apprenticeships which will make it easier for employers from all sectors of the economy to benefit from the impact that apprenticeships can bring to their business. The consultation is available at:

Since 2015 we have transformed apprenticeships into a prestigious technical education programme that is launching people’s careers, upskilling and retraining workers, and helping employers develop the skills they need to thrive. Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Government’s plans to drive economic recovery, and we are already making £3,000 available to employers for each new apprentice they recruit until 31 September.

In September 2020 the Prime Minister set out his ambition to make apprenticeships more portable, reflecting the varied and flexible models of employment that we see in dynamic sectors such as the creative industries, digital and construction. The consultation we are launching today sets out our vision for flexi-job apprenticeships as a means to achieve this and to unlock the potential of apprenticeships in these sectors. We want to seek views on this vision, and on how flexi-job apprenticeships can meet the needs of employers and provide a high quality experience for apprentices.

At Budget on 3 March the Chancellor announced a new £7m fund for flexi-job apprenticeship schemes. This consultation is an important step in preparing to launch this fund in July and ensuring that it delivers a vital skills boost to sectors which need it.

Skills Accelerator Launched

As part of the Skills for Jobs White Paper, we have launched the Skills Accelerator. This is central to the White Paper’s aim to give employers a central role working with colleges, other providers, and local stakeholders to shape technical skills provision so that it meets labour market needs. It will be piloted in 2021-22 to test how we can enable a shift towards the White Paper’s vision of a more collaborative post-16 system with employers at its heart. During the pilot:

- Local plans will be developed by employer representative bodies in collaboration with colleges and other providers and through engagement with key local stakeholders. They will provide a framework to help colleges and other providers reshape their offer to tackle skills mismatches and ensure they are responding effectively to labour market needs. Employer representative bodies are invited to come forward to lead these plans and will have access to funding to help them to do so. Applications to pilot these plans close on 25 May and successful applicants will be announced thereafter.

- £65m will be made available to local areas as a one-year pilot, to facilitate changes to provision that have been endorsed by local employers. Providers and employers will work together to increase the level of skills in the workforce, stimulating demand for better jobs and leading to increased innovation and productivity. The fund will provide capital and revenue for collaborative projects that will build providers’ capacity to meet locally agreed skills priorities. Applications for pilot projects close on May 25, with successful projects announced thereafter.

Linked statements

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords

Department for Education
Update on Skills Education
Baroness Berridge
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System
Conservative, Life peer
Statement made 20 April 2021