This week, the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered a budget that will drive forward our efforts to build a skills and apprenticeships nation and get more people into rewarding work.
Age should not be a barrier to upskilling or retraining and getting the job you want.
I should know the value of experience in the workplace – I’m 53! In the modern economy, we need skills and real-world experience more than ever before. That is why we will be offering ‘Returnerships’ to encourage older workers over 50 to embark on exciting new career ventures.
This will be backed by £34 million boost to support the expansion of our popular skills bootcamps, which will benefit up to 8,000 adults offering these transformational, fully-funded courses in in-demand skills in areas like digital technology, green industry, or construction.
Skills bootcamps truly offer a ladder of opportunity to people, no matter where they are in their life or their career, and can also help people to make the most of the experience earned during a long and rewarding working life.
Apprenticeships will also form a key part of the ‘returnership’ offer targeted at the over 50s by making them more accessible to older workers, to give them the skills and support they need to find a recognisable path back into work.
The Budget also saw £63 million of additional funding to the Sector Based Work Academy Programme (SWAP). This is about identifying skills needs in a local area and allocating resources to get people receiving unemployment benefits trained up to fill them. Work placements help businesses recruit talented workers and get people into rewarding work.
Moreover, we will increase the Adult Education Budget for providers in non-devolved areas. This will help to identify skills gaps in a given area and mobilise funding to provide the training which learners and employers need.
We have also launched a refocussed Investment Zones programme, aimed at boosting productivity and growth in key areas. Coupled with the huge expansion of free childcare to support parents and enable more of them to return to work, we really are delivering for hard working people across the country.
I can’t emphasise enough what an extraordinary ladder of opportunity this Budget represents to so many people.