Labour has unveiled its plans for the future of FE and skills in its official general election manifesto just out.
Central to this is the plan to “introduce free, lifelong education in FE colleges, enabling everyone to upskill or retrain at any point in life”.
Key points include plans to:
- Introduce free, lifelong education in FE colleges, enabling everyone to upskill or retrain at any point in life.
- Abandon Conservative plans to once again reinvent the wheel by building new technical colleges, redirecting the money to increase teacher numbers in the FE sector.
- Share the broad aims of the Sainsbury Review, but ensure vocational routes incorporate the service sector as well as traditional manufacturing
- Improve careers advice and open up a range of routes through, and back into, education, striking a balance between classroom and on-the-job training, to ensure students gain both technical and soft skills
- Bring funding for 16 to 18-year-olds in line with Key Stage four baselines
- To implement the Sainsbury recommendations, correct historic neglect of the FE sector by giving the sector the investment – in teachers and facilities – it deserves to become a world-leading provider of adult and vocational education.
- Restore the education maintenance allowance for 16 to 18-year-olds from lower and middle income backgrounds
- Replace advanced learner loans and upfront course fees with direct funding, making FE courses free at the point of use, including English for Speakers of Other Languages courses.
- Encourage co-operation and leadership across colleges and sixth forms, improving curriculum breadth and quality
- Setting a target, backed up by funding, for all FE teaching staff to have a teaching qualification within five years.
- Extend support for training to teachers in the private sector
- Increase capital investment to equip colleges to deliver T-levels and an official pre-apprenticeship trainee programme.
- Maintain the apprenticeship levy while taking measures to ensure high quality by requiring the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to report on an annual basis to the Secretary of State on quality outcomes of completed apprenticeships
- Set a target to double the number of completed apprenticeships at NVQ level three by 2022
- Give employers more flexibility in how the levy is deployed, including allowing the levy to be used for pre-apprenticeship programmes
- Guarantee trade union representation in the governance structures of the Institute of Apprenticeships
- Protect the £440 million funding for apprenticeships for small-and medium-sized employers who don’t pay the levy
- Set targets to increase apprenticeships for people with disabilities, care leavers and veterans, and ensure broad representation of women, and people with disabilities in all kinds of apprenticeships
- Consult on introducing incentives for large employers to over-train numbers of apprentices to fill skills gaps in the supply chain and the wider sector
- Reverse cuts to Unionlearn
- Set up a commission on Lifelong Learning tasked with integrating further and higher education
More to come…