Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed today’s announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to transform the training and skills system, making it fit for the 21st century economy, and helping the country build back better from coronavirus.

Robin has long championed improving skills and apprenticeships and the impact they have on individuals, businesses and the local economy. He remains committed to providing our young people with the best start to get on in life and have a rewarding career.

Adults without an A-Level or equivalent qualification will be offered a free, fully-funded college course – providing them with skills valued by employers, and the opportunity to study at a time and location that suits them. This offer will be available from April in England, and will be paid for through the National Skills Fund. A full list of available courses will be set out shortly.

Higher education loans will also be made more flexible, allowing adults and young people to space out their study across their lifetimes, take more high-quality vocational courses in further education colleges and universities, and to support people to retrain for jobs of the future.

These reforms will be backed by continued investment in college buildings and facilities – including over £1.5 billion in capital funding. More details will be set out in a further education white paper later this year.

Robin welcomes the news that the Prime Minister is developing a long-term plan to ensure that, as work changes, people can retrain, up-skill and find new well-paid jobs.

Speaking after the Prime Minister’s announcement, Robin said:

“I have long campaigned for skills and apprenticeships in Worcester and I welcome the Prime Minister’s plan to put skills at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery.”

“This initiative will help the UK and Worcestershire recover from the impact of the pandemic andequip people with the skills needed to find new jobs and retrain for new opportunities.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

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

“Through our Lifetime Skills Guarantee, we’ll upgrade Further Education colleges across the country with huge capital investment; we’ll expand apprenticeships, making it easier to get a high quality apprenticeship, and connect them better to local employers who know where the jobs of the future are going to emerge; we’ll fund free technical courses for adults equivalent to A level, and extend our digital boot camps; we’ll expand and transform the funding system so it’s as easy to get a loan for a higher technical course as for a university degree”

“Finally, we’ll enable FE colleges to access funding on the same terms as our most famous universities; and we’ll give everyone a flexible lifelong loan entitlement to four years of post-18 education — so adults will be able to retrain with high level technical courses, instead of being trapped in unemployment.”


Notes to editors

For more information, see the Prime Minister’s speech in full:


For more information on the announcement, please see:


For Robin campaign on skills and apprenticeships, please see: