Further education is key to ensuring our workforce is equipped with the skills our economy needs. The Government wants strong local areas and for employers to take a leading role in establishing a post-16 skills system that is responsive to local economic priorities, financially resilient and able to offer high quality post-16 education and training. A series of area-based reviews is being carried out to establish how local areas can set up institutions that do this.
It makes sense for savings to be found by prioritising investment and I am glad that apprenticeships – which are essential to give young people the opportunity they need to secure a better future – is one area that is being protected. The introduction of a new apprenticeship levy will require large employers to invest in their own future so that the 3 million apprenticeships delivered during this Parliament will be well funded, high quality, and meet employers’ real needs.
The Government will make £360 million of efficiencies and savings from adult skills budget by 2019-20. However, the Government has signalled its commitment to the sector by protecting the Adult Education Budget and 16-19 funding in the recent Spending Review and through its strong support for apprenticeships and Advanced Learner Loans. In fact, by 2019-20, the total funding available to support 19+ skills participation will be £3.41bn, a cash terms increase of 40 per cent compared with 2015-16.