Yesterdays budget went some way to support our recovery with green shoots appearing for the future. We have welcomed the national living wage increase to £9.50 as this will support those working in the local area on lower wages and unskilled jobs, however the government did not mention any support with the Employment Allowance which will ultimately result in margins being tightly squeezed as expenses rise within businesses.

The investment into expanding the new vocational T Level qualifications and the increased funding for apprenticeships are definitely a huge step in the right direction, supporting those who are looking to gain valuable work experience whilst studying or gaining a qualification on the job.

The new T Levels cover 10 subjects at the moment with a further 14 being released 2022/2023. These will cover areas including Accounting, Catering, Hair and Beauty, HR and Engineering to name a few.  They will really help young people gain the qualifications and work experience they need to be able to progress their careers, however schools will need to make careers more of a focus to support their students into being able to decide which direction of education will be best for them.

The new skills bootcamps will provide free short courses for anyone over the age of 19 who is either in work, recently unemployed or self employed. This will hopefully open up new pathways for people to be able to retrain and reskill and find their way into new jobs that would have ordinarily been out of reach. There are a large number of courses within Construction, Digital and IT, Engineering and Manufacturing, Green and Agriculture, Rail and HGV will be introduced in November. If we can use this momentum to drive the skills base and build a culture of lifelong learning, we will give the economy the firepower it needs to lead us out of the recession and future-proof the careers of millions of people.

Its really great to see a focus on getting the unemployed back into the workforce via the Restart Scheme and the Job Entry Targeted Support Scheme (JETS), as well as allowing anyone to be able to access free adult numeracy programmes who didn’t get a GCSE grade C / 4 via the new Multiply programme.

The restart scheme is there to support anyone on universal credit who has been out of work for 12-18 months. It offers enhanced support to help you find a new job for up to a period of 12 months.

JETS supports those who have been out of work for 13 weeks or more to find a job with any help they need from CV guidance and interview prep as well as covid support if your anxious about returning to work.

These measures will enable people to be able to get access to the support they need to be able to thrive in the post pandemic economy. What the government didn’t focus on was how businesses could retain and reskill their existing workforces. I believe that this could be achieved with an overhaul of the apprenticeship Levey and a review of how businesses can deliver training and new skills.

As we look forward to stepping out of the shadow of the pandemic, there has never been a greater need for us to work together in a concerted and committed drive to transform the UK skills landscape. This can only be achieved through long-term thinking and significant investment.

If you are a business owner and would like to discuss any of the point raised in this blog and how they may be able to benefit your business or your employees, please click here to get in touch.