Skills for Jobs White Paper – What it means for employers

apprentice outside BAE systems offices

25th March 2021

The drive to place employers at the heart of the skills system continues, with the latest Skills for Jobs White Paper identifying initiatives that could help employers access a workforce with the appropriate level skills and training to boost their business.

Here’s the highlights:

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee will offer tens of thousands of adults the opportunity to get qualified or retrain, helping them to gain in-demand skills and open up further job opportunities. This includes the chance for adults without a full level 3 qualification (A-level equivalent) to gain one for free in a range of sectors including engineering, health and accountancy.

For employers, this means eligible employees will have the chance to get qualified, for free, in key job roles that help businesses thrive.

Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of 12-16 weeks – giving adults the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

For employers, this could help you recruit into difficult to fill roles, effectively training up candidates in the skills you need before they even start.

Lifelong Loan entitlements make it easier for nearly everyone to study flexibly throughout their lifetimes, removing barriers to retraining or upskilling throughout your career.

For employers this should mean access to a wider, better qualified workforce.

All reforms support a drive to dispel the myth that a degree is the only route to success and a good job.  This should encourage young people to take further and technical education routes to employment.

For employers, this could help reduce skills gaps in technical professions and sectors such as construction, digital, energy and manufacturing.

It is proposed that £65m will be invested in a strategic development fund to help business groups to work even more closely with colleges to develop skills plans to meet local training needs, driving innovation and collaboration.

For employers, this will not only mean more influence over local provision, but access to funding to help fill specific skills gaps.

Employers will have a more central role in designing technical courses by 2030 and a nationwide campaign will encourage talent into teaching in FE, and industry-updating professional development for FE tutors.

For employers, this means that the skills trainees acquire will be even more closely aligned to the skills needed for real jobs, and the tutors teaching them will be passing on the benefits of even better industry experience.

Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, David Hughes said:

“This is an ambitious package of measures which can deliver a significant shift in how we support the lifelong education and skills needs of more than half the population and ensure that employers have the skilled people they need. With funding over the coming years to match the welcome policy shifts, this should rebalance the education and skills system to make it work for everyone.

I’m delighted that this puts skills at the heart of the pandemic build back, and recognises the vital role that colleges and further education will play in levelling up for people and places whilst tackling longstanding concerns about stagnating productivity. Colleges have shown throughout the pandemic an unerring focus on the students, employers and communities they serve – this package shows that the government trusts them to deliver an ambitious and much-needed boost to skills which are vital for our changing economy and labour markets.”

Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems said:

“BAE Systems recognises the vital role that the FE system plays to meet the skills needs of employers. We recently made a commitment to recruit a record number of up to 850 new apprentices this year, over 75% of whom will be working in the North of England. This will help us to meet our future skills requirements and we also continue to invest in the upskilling of our existing workforce, typically spending over £100m each year in the UK on education and skills.

We very much support the aims of the Government’s White Paper and its commitment to place employers at the heart of the reformed system, at both national and local levels. Our team has worked closely with DfE on the development of the new apprenticeship standards and already enjoys strong relationships with local FE providers in the delivery of our training. We look forward to continuing our partnership at national and local levels with the DfE and FE providers to help meet our and the country’s future skills needs.”

BAE Systems are an East Riding College higher apprentice employer. Read our case study


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