Boris Johnson to announce new free college courses in overhaul of training and skills

Adults who did not continue their education after GCSEs will be able to enrol on a free, fully-funded college course to boost their skills and retrain to adapt to the post-coronavirus economy, Boris Johnson is set to announce.

The Prime Minister will on Tuesday set out plans to transform the training and skills system in a bid to make it fit for the 21st century economy and help the country build back better from coronavirus.

And as part of the overhaul adults without an A-Level or equivalent qualification will be offered a free course providing them with skills valued by employers, and the opportunity to study at a time and location that suits them.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The offer will be available from April in England, and will be paid for through the National Skills Fund.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets shoppers and shopkeepers during a visit to his constituency in Uxbridge, west London. Photo: PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets shoppers and shopkeepers during a visit to his constituency in Uxbridge, west London. Photo: PA

While higher education loans will also be made more flexible.

In a speech on Tuesday, the Prime Minister is expected to announce a new Lifetime Skill Guarantee. He will say: “As the Chancellor has said, we cannot, alas, save every job.

“What we can do is give people the skills to find and create new and better jobs.

“So my message today is that at every stage of your life, this Government will help you get the skills you need.”

He will add: ‘We’re transforming the foundations of the skills system so that everyone has the chance to train and retrain.”

Apprenticeship opportunities will also be increased, with more funding for smaller and medium businesses taking on apprentices, and greater flexibility in how their training is structured – especially in sectors such as construction and creative industries where there are more varied employment patterns.

Some £8m will also be put towards digital skills boot camps; expanding successful pilots in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands and introducing programmes in four new locations, including in West Yorkshire.

The Government had been under pressure from Labour to provide more details on extra support for skills and training for those who may lose their job in the economic downturn after Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out new financial support measures last week.