The Department for Education has released its much-anticipated FE White Paper: Skills for Jobs. The White Paper sets out reforms to post-16 technical education and training which are designed to support people into skilled jobs and improve national productivity.

Neil Bates, Managing Director of Seetec Outsource, said:

 “I welcome the direction of travel set out in the Government’s Skills for Jobs White Paper. More emphasis on employers, investing in technical qualifications and handing providers greater autonomy to deliver a first-class post-16 skills system is long overdue.

“This White Paper should be viewed as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to future-proof the skills sector to meet the demands of the rapidly changing labour market as the country not only focuses on the economic and social recovery from COVID-19, but also the long-term ambition to develop a more diverse skills base post-Brexit to compete globally.

“To realise the ambitions set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper, there needs to be a comprehensive and robust strategy to deliver its aims going forward that is supported by a funding package that signals a more long-term commitment. As part of the Government’s planned consultation in the spring about streamlining funding for further education to support provision relevant to the labour market, it will be important to not lose sight of the need for a multi-year settlement to take forward the blueprint for boosting skills laid out in the White Paper.

“Creating a world class technical education and skills system is a long-term project requiring targeted and sustained investment in people and infrastructure. This investment should be extended to independent learning providers who work in key sectors of the economy building partnerships with large and small employers to develop the skilled workers of the future.

“The Government must seize the opportunity to use the White Paper as a vehicle to deal with the fragmented relationship between the employment and skills system, ensure regions have more scope to respond to gaps in further education provision and end the false competition between technical and other academic institutions so that a more level playing field is established across the sector to meet today’s landmark announcement.

“If the White Paper is going to succeed, there are three key strategic tests that it must achieve in the coming months and years ahead – have employers got access to people with the right skills, do people of all ages have affordable and understandable opportunities to learn post-16 and has the employer-led focus delivered a society where all communities enjoy a higher standard of living.”

Read the FE White Paper here.