As part of their Lifetime Skills Guarantee, the Government have released a list containing hundreds of free courses available to adults without A-Levels after the pandemic. 

Following on from plans in September announced by the Prime Minister, the Government have issued a list of courses that will be available as part of their Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

Offering a variety of options such as engineering, health, construction and accountancy, this move is intended to boost the skills of adults for post-pandemic recovery.

These fully funded courses will be available to adults without a full qualification at Level 3 (equivalent to an A-Level) from April 2021 in a bid to open up further job opportunities for those who choose to take these courses.

The Government have stated that these courses will be reviewed on a regular basis in order to ensure that the courses offered meet the demands of the economy as it adapts.

This decision has been backed by £95 million which is being used from the total £2.5 billion National Skills Fund.

The Government predicts that this will help “tens of thousands of adults”.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

As we recover from the pandemic, we are focussed on making sure that individuals and businesses can build back better than before.

Throughout our lives we may all need to boost our skills, or gain new ones. These free qualifications will help open doors to better employment opportunities for thousands of adults and support businesses to access the workforce they need to grow.

Our new Lifetime Skills Guarantee promises to help you get the skills you need at every stage of your life. I’d urge all those eligible to see what course they can take from spring next year and start thinking about their next steps.

Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, David Hughes, praised this move:

I’m pleased to see progress in the roll-out of the new Level 3 entitlement as part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee. The qualifications will help people to get the skills they need in the labour market emerging from the pandemic so it is great to see that essential services like child and social care have been included alongside engineering, agriculture, construction and many others. Colleges are eager to start work and begin planning ahead of delivery in the spring of 2021.

However, Kirstie Donnelly MBE, CEO at City & Guilds Group, suggested that the Government must go further:

The Government’s commitment to offer adults without A-Levels funding for level 3 courses is a step in the right direction, but, given its aim is to boost skills in the post-Covid-19 economy – it is limited in scope and not nearly ambitious enough to move the dial on the UK’s lifelong learning lag.

As a starter for ten, by limiting this offer only to those who haven’t got a level 3 qualification, the Government is effectively ignoring the vast swathes of people who are losing their jobs within industries that have been decimated by the pandemic. These individuals need help to retrain and reskill to find work elsewhere and the offer of funded training could provide a much-needed lifeline. The priority for adult retraining right now is to get people back into work quickly and it’s vital the funding goes towards courses that will genuinely lead to meaningful employment in industries where there are real job opportunities.

And time could not be any more of the essence – so why wait until April? We know the end of March could mark yet another unemployment spike, so we need to fast track funding and open up opportunities in real-time. If we are to give the economy a fighting chance of recovery sooner rather than later, we need to act now.