Skills Bill: More government defeats as Lords debate careers, universal credit and apprenticeships

The “report stage” in the House of Lords ended last night

The “report stage” in the House of Lords ended last night

The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill is one step closer to becoming law having completed its “report stage” in the House of Lords. 

Amendments, including a beefed-up Baker clause and focussing a proportion of apprenticeship levy funding on young people at lower levels, were passed into the bill against the government’s wishes.   

Lord Baker beat the government by 50 votes to make legislation requiring secondary pupils to experience “mandatory encounters” with technical training providers legally enforceable and prescribed within law.   

Baker once again commanded support from government and opposition peers for his amendment.   

Baroness Wilcox, speaking for Labour, said the government’s aim to use secondary legislation, i.e., regulations, to determine the frequency and content of technical education careers guidance wasn’t acceptable because it would mean that the government’s plans couldn’t be scrutinised. 

 The Lord Bishop of Durham, with the Green Party’s Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, won another vote to prevent benefit rules causing problems for adults seeking education and training opportunities if they are unemployed and/or in receipt of Universal Credit.  

Despite a defence from a government minister, who highlighted various ways in which Universal Credit claimants could be supported through learning loans, bursaries and various exemptions within Universal Credit regulations, a cross-party coalition of peers generated a government defeat of 16 votes. 

Commenting on the Universal Credit amendment, Association of Colleges chief executive David Hughes said: “Cutting Universal Credit whilst blocking people’s ability to train and upskill their way into good jobs is just plain wrong at any time, but when employers are crying out for people with skills, then it is even more baffling. 

“This is an important moment as the House of Lords rejects the government’s muddled approach and forces them to think again. We need an urgent review into the system to make sure that the welfare and skills systems are working in tandem.” 

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Addington successfully passed an amendment that would require special educational needs training within FE teacher training programmes.  

Former MP Ken Clarke (pictured), now Lord Clarke of Nottingham, passed an amendment that would require employers to spend two-thirds of “apprenticeship funding” on level 2 and 3 apprenticeships for under-25s.   

Government amendments to outlaw essay mills and allow for the conversion of 16-to-19 sixth-forms with religious character to academies were passed without opposition.   

The House of Lords began proceedings at 12.30pm yesterday afternoon and were still debating at the time of going to press.   

The Lords will have a final opportunity to amend the bill on October 25. It will then begin its journey through the House of Commons. With a Conservative Party majority in the Commons, it is unlikely that all of the amendments passed by the Lords will be passed in to final legislation. 

Latest education roles from

Youth Worker

Youth Worker

Merton College

Meet and Greet Assistant

Meet and Greet Assistant

Barnet and Southgate College

Lecturer – Electrical Installation

Lecturer – Electrical Installation

Merton College

Business Development Consultant

Business Development Consultant

Barnsley College

Lunchtime Supervisor

Lunchtime Supervisor

Lightwoods Primary Academy

Apprentice Development Leader

Apprentice Development Leader

GP Strategies

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

Why we’re backing our UK skills ‘Olympians’ (and why you should too)

This August, teams from over 200 nations will gather to compete in the sticky heat of the Paris summer...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Is your organisation prepared for a major incident?

We live in an unpredictable world where an unforeseen incident or environmental event could disrupt a Further Education (FE)...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

A new chapter in education protection!

Gallagher is a specialist in the Further Education sector, working with over 75% of Further Education colleges in the...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Pearson is planting the seed for sustainability talent with new HTQ

Sustainability is rapidly becoming a key organisational goal for many businesses looking to make a difference in society, the...

Advertorial

More from this theme

ABS, Skills reform

Maths to 18: MPs want financial literacy alternative to GCSE resits

Education committee urges ministers to 'prioritise' financial education in post-16 maths

Billy Camden
Bootcamps, Ofsted, Skills reform

US ed tech giant exits bootcamps after raking in £5m

Struggling firm leaves UK training 'in the best interest of students'

Billy Camden
Colleges, Skills reform

MPs: DfE should include FE in teacher recruitment forecasts

FE is the 'worst impacted' sector yet often ignored by DfE plans

Josh Mellor
AEB, Politics, Skills reform

DfE scales back ‘free courses for jobs’ offer 

Access will be restricted to adults earning below £25k in 2024/25

Billy Camden

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *