Mansfield MP welcomes further education reforms that boost opportunities for all
Last Thursday, the Department for Education published a White Paper entitled ‘Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth’.
This is a new plan for further education, focused on giving people the skills they need in a way that suits them, so they can get great jobs in sectors the economy needs.
Employers will be at the heart of post-16 skills, so we can make sure that education and training are really suitable for the workplace and lead to good, rewarding jobs for local people.
As one of Government’s further education ambassadors, I’m delighted with these new reforms which will help people in Mansfield and Warsop
Since becoming an MP, I have been championing this, making sure local people have the opportunity and the aspiration to become anything they want to.
But I know that university isn’t always the best option for all young people.
A vocational or technical qualification may even better, and recent data shows it can often lead to better paid jobs than many degrees.
Advanced technical skills are going to be absolutely key to fill the needs of our economy in the future, and so they present great opportunities for our area if people can access the right training and qualifications.
That means better advice is needed for young people in schools about these technical routes, so the Government is going to roll out new T-levels as a technical alternative to academic A-levels, and simplify the apprenticeship levy system so that more small businesses can take on apprentices in our area.
Learning isn’t just for young people though, as increasingly, people are having to train and adapt throughout their careers.
Free A-level equivalent qualifications will be made available to anyone who doesn’t have one, as well as flexible bootcamp training sessions focused on digital skills or targeted at local skills gaps and available jobs.
We’re also extending the student finance system so that you can access flexible funding throughout your life to be able to retrain or boost your skills.
These reforms are really going to benefit local people.
We need to make sure technical and vocational skills are given the same priorities as university.
This is something I have been supporting for a long time and I am glad the Government is listening.
It will really benefit local business and help with the economic recovery we all need but I hope also allow local people to get a well-paid and rewarding job, without having to go to university if they don’t want to.
This new plan for FE has been welcomed by our local college and universities, and can make a big difference for our future.
Ben Bradley is MP for Mansfield.