National Retraining Scheme project to expand

Get Help to Retrain is the first in a range of tools that will make up the National Retraining Scheme

Julia Belgutay

Retraining: SMEs call for further action on skills from government

The government’s £100 million Get Help to Retrain scheme for adults will from today be available in six cities and regions, following its rollout across the Leeds City Region, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authority, and the Heart of the South West.

This follows a trial in the West Midlands, North East and the Liverpool City Region. Online service Get Help to Retrain is the first of a series of initiatives that will make up the government’s National Retraining Scheme. It aims to support adults whose jobs are at risk of changing to kickstart a new career.

Background: Government to announce new National Retraining Scheme

News: £100m National Retraining Scheme launches in Liverpool

Quick read: Hammond pledges £100m for National Retraining Scheme

Gaining skills 

According to the government, the service helps adults to identify their existing skills, explore different types of job opportunities and find training courses to gain the skills they need to progress in the workplace. It includes support from qualified careers advisers to guide people through the process and provide expert advice. It is available to those aged 24 and over, qualified below degree level and who are working below a certain wage threshold.

Get Help to Retrain is being rolled out in stages before being made available nationwide in 2020. A series of additional products that will make up the full service is being developed and tested in parallel, before being released at different times.

The National Retraining Scheme is led and overseen by the National Retraining Partnership, including the government, the CBI and the TUC.

The government has also announced that technology companies and innovators can from today bid for a share of the CareerTech Challenge fund, backed by £5.75 million of funding from the government and innovation foundation Nesta, to develop cutting-edge solutions to improve the quality and efficiency of online training and guidance for adults looking for a change in career.

The CareerTech Challenge was previously known as the Adult Learning Technology Innovation Fund (ALTIF).

Fast-changing world

Education minister Michelle Donelan said: “The world of work is changing fast, which is why we are developing the National Retraining Scheme to help prepare adults whose jobs may change as a result of new technologies to thrive in the roles of the future.

“The Get Help to Retrain digital service is just the first step. We are rolling the service out gradually, testing and learning as we go. The good news is that eligible adults in all six areas can now try out the new service and help us make sure we get it right for those who need it.”

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “All workers should have the chance to retrain and improve their skills. And this will be key as the labour market undergoes the transformation of new technology and automation in the coming years. 

“The launch of this new phase of the National Retraining Scheme and its collaborative approach is good news. It will help to open up retraining to many more working people – preparing them for the jobs of the future."

Matthew Fell, CBI chief UK policy director, said: “Seeing the Get Help to Retrain digital service rolled out to more locations across the country is promising news. Ensuring people’s skills are fit for the future is an essential part of improving productivity growth, wages and living standards up and down the country.

“As the world of work changes rapidly, the best way to help people access the high-quality training they need to succeed is by government and employers working together. And once the National Retraining Scheme is well under way, it should kickstart wider cross-government efforts to embrace technology in the workplace.”

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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