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Thursday, 2 July

Britain Needs A Skills Revolution


The Education Secretary Justine Greening has said it is her mission to spark the skills revolution needed to help Britain make a success of leaving the European Union.

In a keynote speech to business leaders at the British Chambers of Commerce Education summit (on July 6), Greening told business leaders that the country can only rise to the challenge of developing the skills and talents of young people if government and business work together. This includes developing plans for new T levels, backed by an extra £500 million of government investment per year announced in the budget, which will help build the army of skilled young people that business and the country need.

Greening also outlined plans to deliver the huge range of skills needed from coding to engineering and construction to design. She said: "A skills revolution for Brexit Britain. That’s the real strategy on migration. The introduction of T-Levels will be the next stage in this journey. Offered alongside apprenticeships, they will form the basis of our new technical education system."

The Education Secretary was responding to calls from business and education experts - CBI, BCC, Ofqual, the Association of Colleges and Lord Sainsbury - to get technical education right.

She also announced: "£50 million investment from April 2018 to fund work placements - a key component of every T Level – to help prepare young people for skilled work; and £15m to contribute to improvements in further education to deliver the new T levels.



T-levels are aimed at allowing 16 to 19-year olds to study in 15 specific areas such as construction with available courses replacing the thousands apparently currently on offer. Students will be eligible for maintenance loans.


Other plans

That is why, earlier this year, I announced a £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund, which was all about investing in high-quality professional development for teachers and leaders working in these challenging areas.

Speaking at the Sutton Trust on July 12, Greening also referred to the allocation of £20 from a £75 million budget for school programmes starting in September this year, £10 million of that fund going on teachers training in the most challenging UK schools.

Greening also spoke of The Careers and Enterprise Company project and the Opportunity Areas scheme, bringing together firms to provide mentoring and expertise. She said: "These are the ‘cornerstone companies’, as we call them, that are now working with us day in, day out, in Opportunity Areas. Companies like Rolls Royce and Toyota in Derby. Adeco in Blackpool. NatWest in West Somerset. Aviva in Norwich. PWC in Bradford. They are helping young people understand not just what the world of work is all about but more than that: what the wealth of careers are ahead of them that they can aim for through their education."



British Chamber of Commerce

Director General of the BCC opened the same conference that Justine Greening spoke at on July 6. He called for action to improve the transition from the world of education to the workplace. In his opening address to delegates at the BCC’s Business and Education Summit, he said: “Unless we improve the transition from the world of education to the world of work in the UK, we won’t fix our long-standing issues around productivity – which stop us paying our way in the world as a nation; our firms will be less competitive against their global peers – as businesses struggle to fill skills gaps, and have to divert their training focus to fixing basic skills; and crucially, the burning question of fairness between generations – one of the biggest issues facing our country today – will not be fully addressed.

“These are not left-wing or right-wing issues. They are national imperatives.

“We as business need to do more. Together with colleagues from educational institutions of all stripes, from local government, and from national government, we have a duty to ensure that all young people at school – and indeed far more of our teachers – have regular and repeated interactions with businesses, with industry, and with life in the workplace.

“We have a duty to help school and college leavers access the world of work and opportunity, and find their route to personal fulfilment and success."

Picture: Mrs T - Justine Greening has said it is her mission to spark the skills revolution needed to help Britain make a success of leaving the European Union


Article written by Cathryn Ellis


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