United Kingdom

Ministers promise 'lifetime skills guarantee' in Queen's Speech

Every adult will be given access to a flexible loan to pay for higher-level education under plans announced today by Boris Johnson as part of a new 'Lifetime Skills Guarantee'. 

Mr Johnson said new education laws set out in the Queen's Speech will provide 'rocket fuel' to the nation's recovery from the coronavirus crisis. 

The PM hopes the guarantee will enable people to gain the skills they need to secure well-paid jobs and to access training throughout the course of their lives.

The so-called Lifelong Loan Entitlement to pay for education and training at university or college will be available to people at any point. 

It will provide flexible access to the equivalent of up to four years' worth of student loans. 

It is part of a wider effort by the Government to 'remove the bias against technical education'. 

Boris Johnson said new education laws set out in the Queen's Speech will provide 'rocket fuel' to the nation's recovery from the coronavirus crisis. The PM is pictured walking past a Job Centre in Truro, Cornwall on April 7 this year 

The so-called Lifelong Loan Entitlement to pay for education and training at university or college will be available to people at any point in their lives. Stock image of a student studying

Only 10 per cent of adults aged 20-45 hold a higher technical qualification as their highest qualification compared to 20 per cent in Germany and 34 per cent in Canada. 

Mr Johnson 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'I'm revolutionising the system so we can move past the outdated notion that there is only one route up the career ladder, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to retrain or upskill at any point in their lives.'

The Government's plans will also see employers handed a statutory role in planning publicly-funded training programmes with education providers through a so-called 'Skills Accelerator' scheme.   

Meanwhile, the Education Secretary will be given more powers to intervene in failing colleges. 

The proposals will be set out in the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill which is due to be introduced to Parliament on May 18.     

Labour has criticised the Government's proposals as it called for 'action, not more rhetoric'. 

The opposition has demanded ministers set out a 'clear plan to get Britain working for working people'.  

Association of Colleges chief executive David Hughes said the announcement is an 'important step on the journey to ending the snobbery around technical and vocational education' after a 'decade of neglect and cuts' under the Tories.

He also warned that the skills guarantee will only be successful if students can afford to live while studying through a 'mixture of loans, grants and welfare support', adding: 'Without this, many simply won't be able to afford it.'

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