Queen's Speech sets legislation for skills and training reforms - AoC responds

10 May 2021

Responding to the legislative measures set out for post-16 and adult education, Chief Executive of AoC, David Hughes said: 

“After a decade of neglect and cuts, today is an important step on the journey to ending the snobbery around technical and vocational education. The Prime Minister and Secretary of State have shown their commitment to colleges, we now need this to be met with ambitious and wide-reaching legislation in Parliament, and fair and sustainable funding from the Chancellor. 

This is the first Queen’s Speech since the pandemic began so I am delighted that further education is right at the heart of it because colleges are rooted in their communities and will be central in supporting people and places to recover. This new Bill recognises how vital colleges are to economic recovery and the government’s levelling up agenda. Colleges showed their worth in the pandemic and they know how to deliver on this and stand ready, with the funding, to step up and show that once again.

Everybody agrees that people should have access to training and reskilling throughout their lives - the shifting of the economy, post-pandemic, is highlighting yet again, just why it is so important for people to be able to access training to move into new jobs and new sectors. While the Lifetime Skills Guarantee has the potential to open up these opportunities, it will only work if people can afford to live whilst studying, through a mixture of loans, grants and welfare support. Without this, many simply won’t be able to afford it. 

We look forward to working with the government to help deliver the skills and lifelong learning to build a stronger economy, redress long standing regional inequalities and make the transition to a net zero carbon economy.”