Nuclear Skills Strategy Group

11 May 2021

Post Pandemic Skills Reform: PM to transform skills and training opportunities

Today’s Queen’s Speech set out the Government’s priorities for the new Parliamentary Term, with a focus on “levelling up” and recovery from the pandemic.

There will be a Skills and Post-16 Education Bill for England, supporting a lifetime-skills guarantee to enable flexible access to education and training at all ages. The Government has explained that this will include legislation on a number of measures, most of which have already been announced over the past few months (notably in the Further Education White Paper in January, which is summarised on the NSSG’s website.

  • A Lifelong Loan Entitlement, equivalent to four years of post-18 education from 2025 to use over one’s lifetime
  • [Further] realigning the system around the needs of employers, including the locally based Skills Accelerator partnerships. Priority sectors are named as construction, digital, clean energy and manufacturing
  • Extending existing powers of the Secretary of State for Education to intervene to improve quality of provision in colleges and training providers
  • Extending the powers of the Office for Students in regulating Higher Education

The Turing Scheme to fund overseas study, announced last year following the exit from the EU’s Erasmus Scheme, will be backed by legislation.

A Professional Qualifications Bill will create a new framework to recognise overseas professional qualifications, shifting away from the current arrangements with European nations. This will also require regulators to publish details about entry and practice requirements in the interests of transparency.

An Environment Bill will set binding environmental targets, and the Government will invest in the Green Economy.

The Education Recovery Plan to help schools and colleges to recover from the pandemic will continue to operate and receive further funding.

A Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will introduce a Director for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom at the Office for Students, with a remit to “champion freedom of speech and academic freedom on campus”. HE providers and students’ unions will have new legal duties to secure freedom of speech for members and visiting speakers.

The government’s original press release can be accessed here