Extra £101m for school and college leavers to return for a third year

The government has pledged £101 million to give all 18 to 19 year olds who are struggling to find work in England the “opportunity” to study “targeted high value level 2 and 3 courses”.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the “high value courses for school and college leavers” scheme during his summer statement this afternoon.

An accompanying Treasury document said: “Government will provide £101 million for the 2020-21 academic year to give all 18 to 19 year olds in England the opportunity to study targeted high value level 2 and 3 courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.”

FE Week has asked Treasury for further details but the Department for Education explained it will be offering school and college leavers that are at risk of becoming NEET an additional optional paid extra year in education.

A full list of qualifications available for the fund will be published in due course but it is expected to apply to A-levels in science, technology, English and maths, as well as qualifications in ICT and construction, for example.

Bill Watkin, chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said: “The one year, high value courses for school and college leavers are of particular interest to us – applied general qualifications (AGQs) will be an ideal fit for many young people, so this initiative may provide further evidence of the vital role these qualifications play, and cause the government to reflect on its future plans for AGQs.

“It will be important to address the funding reduction for 18 year old students to ensure colleges and school are not financially penalised for delivering these one year courses.”

Sunak also announced employer incentives for taking on new apprentices today, as well a £2 billion “kickstart” scheme and a £111 million boost to traineeships.