On Wednesday, 9 December Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP, announced the first major details of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee was originally announced by the Prime Minister in September and provides fully funded qualifications to adults without a full qualification at level 3.

Almost 400 level 3 qualifications, including for the finishes and interiors sector; Decorative Finishing – Painting and Decorating,  Bathroom Installation Skills, Kitchen Installation Skills, Interior Systems Ceiling Fixing, Plastering, Wall and Floor Tiling,  Testing, Inspecting and thorough Examination Occupations – Installing Construction Anchors and Site Testing of Construction Fixings, Occupational Work Supervision, Wood Occupations – Site Carpentry, Bench and Architectural Joinery and Design, Engineer, Construct The Digital Built Environment, will be available free to eligible adult learners in England from April 2021. The qualifications will enable tens of thousands of adults to get the skills they need to improve their career prospects and progress in employment. The courses are backed by £95 million of funding from the £2.5 billion National Skills Fund.

This commitment by the Government to inject funding into tertiary education to ensure the country can bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic is great news for the construction industry. Construction is one of the sectors that will benefit most from the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and the courses that will receive funding cover a wide range of trades.

Given the potential impact of the pandemic on apprenticeship provision across construction, this new support will help young people to continue to progress their learning in FE. The challenge will be to ensure that learners on FE courses are work ready to enter industry.