A new bill has been passed to update and transform post-16 education and adult skills training in England.
The Skills and Post-16 Education Act aims to promote training in sectors with skills gaps, including health and social care, engineering, digital, green energy and manufacturing.
Included in the new legislation is a requirement that schools expose students to technical education opportunities and promote providers of apprenticeships, T Levels and traineeships, so that young people are fully informed of their options for post-16 education. Colleges and training providers will also be legally required to engage with local employers to ensure they can deliver skills needed most in demand within their local economy.
Green skills are also set for a boost under the new act to ensure all parts of the country can take advantage of the significant growth of the green economy in preparation for net zero.
Minister for Skills Alex Burghart said:
“The Skills and Post-16 Education Act will transform the skills, training and post-16 education landscape and level up opportunities across the country.
“This legislation will make sure everyone can gain the skills they need to progress into a rewarding job, and businesses have access to a pipeline of talented, qualified employees for their workforces – boosting productivity.”
Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), which leads with implementing the government’s employer-led technical education reforms, said:
“Following passage of this landmark legislation, we can look forward to creating a unified skills system which is simpler to understand and employers and learners can really trust.
“IfATE has empowered employers to drive up the quality of apprenticeships and roll out exciting new T Levels. The time is now right to extend the employer-led reforms across technical education.”
The Skills and Post-16 Education Act follows the publication of the government’s plans for levelling-up training, set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper in January 2021.
Also included in the Act is a ban on so-called ‘essay mills’ completing student work for a fee, and reform of the student loans system to support access to higher-level education.