National Retraining Scheme to join National Skills Fund

Apprenticeship and skills minister announces that the National Retraining Scheme will be integrated into the National Skills Fund to 'reduce complexity in the adult skills landscape'
13th October 2020, 11:10am

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National Retraining Scheme to join National Skills Fund

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/national-retraining-scheme-join-national-skills-fund
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The National Retraining Scheme will be integrated into the National Skills Fund, the minister for apprenticeships and skills Gillian Keegan has announced today.

In a ministerial written statement, she said that the decision came as a result of the government wanting to "reduce complexity in the adult skills landscape". 

She said: "With that broader vision in mind, wanting to reduce complexity in the adult skills landscape and recognising the need to work closely with a wide range of key stakeholders and experts, we are integrating the National Retraining Scheme into the National Skills Fund. 

"The National Retraining Scheme will no longer continue as a separate programme but rather its work and learning will be rolled into the development of the National Skills Fund. This will be reflected in wider communications around the National Skills Fund and our broader offer for adult skills. It will include the conclusion of the trials of the Get Help to Retrain service, a digital platform that helped adults identify their existing skills as well as new training options."


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The National Retraining Scheme is worth £100m and the National Skills Fund was worth £3 billion. 

Ms Keegan added: "Our engagement with employers on the National Retraining Scheme ensured we were better sighted on the skills they need their workers to have, as well as the need for a more flexible approach to the delivery of skills.

"Greater flexible provision was a clear need for both the employers and the individual. Both of these factors have been central to the design and delivery of the bootcamps announced in the prime minister's speech, which are a key element of the National Skills Fund offer."

Sue Pember, director of policy at adult learning body HOLEX, said that while it was helpful to see that the DfE is going to merge the National Retraining Scheme initiative into the National Skills Fund, "you do have to wonder why they didn't create one fund in the first instance."

She said: "More important than the admin tasks of merging funds, there is now a pressing need to support adults who will be unemployed this autumn. The need for upskilling and retraining has never been so pressing and the DfE needs to release funds for retraining now and not wait until 1 August 2021.  

"I am also concerned about the idea that adults who are low skilled will be supported by the Skills Toolkit - although there is some good material on it, many learners do not have the digital capacity to access it. Without the wrap-around of support for the learner and robust quality procedures that include a role for Ofsted, this will be another failed IT solution."

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