A number of education reforms were announced in chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget speech this week, which are designed to help address the UK’s current skills shortage.

Budget training & education

A number of education reforms were announced in chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget speech this week, which are designed to help address the UK’s current skills shortage.

Mr Hammond stated: “We need to do more to support our young adults into quality jobs and help them gain world-class skills. And while we have an academic route in this country that is undeniably one of the best in the world, the truth is that we languish near the bottom of the international league tables for technical education.

“And, I am pleased to report, in National Apprenticeship Week, that our apprenticeship route is now, finally, delivering that ambition here, with 2.4 million apprenticeship starts in the last Parliament, and the launch of the Apprenticeship Levy in April supporting a further 3m apprenticeships by 2020.”

However, Hammond acknowledged that more needed to be done when it comes to technical education, and announced the launch of a new qualification, the T-Level. The T-Level will be designed and recognised by employers with clear routes into work, more time in the classroom, and quality work placements. To make the process simpler, 15 clear, career-focused routes will be available, replacing the 130,000 qualifications currently available.

Training hours for 16-19 year old technical students will also be increased by 50%, which is to include a high-quality three month work placement for every student, and, upon roll-out of this programme an additional £500m a year will be invested in 16-19 year olds.

In addition, the chancellor announced his intention to encourage technical study at higher level with the offer of maintenance loans for students undertaking higher level technical qualifications at the new Institutes of Technology and National Colleges.

Hammond said that the budget was “Putting the next generation first, to safeguard their future, and to secure our economy.”