“Of course, we’ve seen more and more education move online as a result of the pandemic. This coupled with the fact that face-to-face training and education just isn’t feasible to get the sheer numbers of people upskilled that we need so I hope that there are scalable, online solutions being considered.”
The Government’s plan for skills and training arrives as The Big Issue lays out its own response to the Covid-19 jobs crisis, which has seen 819,000 employees fall off company payrolls since February 2020 at Office for National Statistics’ last count.
FutureLearn and jobs board Adzuna helped The Big Issue create the Ride Out Recession Alliance Jobs and Training programme, which includes a toolkit to help people back into work and a jobs site featuring hundreds of thousands of jobs.
For the most part, the path of education is no longer linear
The Government’s new blueprint sets out reforms to transform education and training beyond the ages of 16, bringing together business groups and colleges to develop tailored skills plans backed by a £65 million Strategic Development Fund.
Ministers also promise more paths to a career beyond a degree, including giving employers a central role in designing technical courses by 2030 and boosting the quality of qualifications with a new government-backed brand and quality mark from September 2022.
Those steps go alongside a renewed push to recruit further education teachers and a student finance shake-up that means more people can access support throughout their lives.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the announcement of these measures alongside the Lifetime Skills Guarantee will offer tens of thousands of adults the chance to retrain in later life.
“Our Lifetime Skills Guarantee means that everyone will be given the chance to get the skills they need, right from the very start of their career,” said Johnson.
“In the years ahead, the reforms we have announced today will deliver high quality technical education across the country – and help people retrain and secure better paid jobs.
“That way when we have beaten Covid-19 we can put rocket boosters under our recovery and Build Back Better.”
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Williamson added: “These reforms are at the heart of our plans to build back better.”
However, Eleanor Harrison, CEO of youth charity Impetus, insists the new white paper fails to put the educational needs of youngsters first at a time when they have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Harrison said: “The Government must avoid a twin-track recovery for young people, with some benefiting from the White Paper’s investment in employer-led routes and others left even further behind.”