Boris Johnson vows to bring jobs and skills to Red Wall voters with new education bill
BORIS Johnson will today unveil a "skills revolution" to help millions Brits access training and education at any point in their lives.
The PM will pledge to overhaul the student loan system so every adult in the country has access to cash to help them move up the career ladder.
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And he'll also announce swingeing new powers to take over failing colleges that are failing to meet local needs.
He said the new measures will put "boosters" under his bid to level up opportunities and bring high paid jobs to all parts of the country.
Boris has vowed to stop the brain drain from many former Red Wall seats to big cities like London by creating more local opportunities.
Speaking ahead of today's Queen's Speech, he said: "These new laws are the rocket fuel that we need to level up this country and ensure equal opportunities for all.
"We know that having the right skills and training is the route to better, well-paid jobs.
“I’m revolutionising the system so we can move past the outdated notion that there is only one route up the career ladder, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to retrain or up-skill at any point in their lives.”
Under the blueprint – known as the "Lifetime Skills Guarantee" – access to student loans will be overhauled.
All adults will be able to access flexible finance for higher education or training at either university or college.
The cash will be available at any point and will be the equivalent to four years of student loans – so up to £37,000.
People will be able to use the cash flexibly across their life-time to access full-time or part-time classes.
On top of that, employers will also be given a greater role in planning how public funding is spent on training classes.
A new “Skills Accelerator” programme is designed to build stronger links between companies and colleges in their area.
And education secretary Gavin Williamson will have extra powers to intervene where local employment needs aren't being met.
He said: "As we rebuild from the pandemic, we’ve put reforming post-16 education and skills at the heart of our plans to build back better.
"I have championed the often forgotten 50 per cent of young people who don’t go to university.
“Through legislation, our vision is to transform the sector and expand opportunity right across the country, so that more people can get the skills they need to get good jobs.”
Labour's shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the government had achieved "lots of talk but little action" on levelling up.
She said: "It's great to hear that they want people to be able to retrain, but where are the jobs that people need?
"The good-quality jobs that allow people to earn decent money to look after their families, and to be able to spend in their local communities and on their high streets?"
A third of working age undergraduates are currently not in skilled employment, according to the Government.
Meanwhile, in 2019 employers said they were unable to fill a quarter of their vacancies due to a lack of candidates with the right qualifications.
It is hope the new laws will end that mismatch.
They will be introduced to Parliament in a Skills and Post-16 Education Bill next Tuesday.
Ministers have already been focussing on new measures to help people retrain in areas including coding and "green" retrofitting in construction.
A new series of bootcamps have already trained 3,000 people, with 14,000 more signed up to attend courses this year.
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