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COMMENT: Prime Minister's speech on skills in England

29 September 2020

The Independent Commission on the College of the Future has responded to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's speech on skills setting out his plans to transform the training and skills system and prepare workers for a post-Covid economy in England. Responding to the plans, Professor Ewart Keep, Commissioner for the Independent Commission on the College of the Future said:

“For too long colleges have been underutilised in meeting the challenges of our economy and society. It is welcome that today the Prime Minister is recognising them as institutions at the heart of recovery in communities across England.

“Today’s announcement for skills in England signals an important refocus on lifetime learning and accessible education. This will be key to recovery, boosting productivity and transforming people’s life chances at a time of great uncertainty. The new entitlement to a fully-funded Level 3 qualification and more flexibility in funding for FE and HE could help to unlock the skills of the nation. This commitment has to be reinforced by good quality advice and flexible financial support, something the Commission has been giving a great deal of thought to.

“The focus on skills is needed for economic recovery now, but it can’t just be about economic recovery from COVID. This has to be about building the foundation of a system that supports people of all ages in the future too as the world and jobs continue to transform. This requires major reform to create a fairer, balanced and more sustainable post-16 education and skills system.

“This has to be a priority for Governments across the four nations, and we look forward to publishing our recommendations for the College of the Future later this Autumn.”