Staff at BAE Systems, which welcomed reforms. Photo: David Moir/ReutersA shakeup of Britain’s further education system will see young people and adults learn “what employers want,” according to education secretary Gavin Williamson.The UK government is set to publish its ‘Skills for Jobs’ white paper on Wednesday, setting out plans to revamp training and skills.“The measures announced today will put an end to the illusion that a degree is the only route to success and a good job, and that further and technical education is the second-class option,” said the department for education in a press release.Further education covers post-16 studies other than university degrees, typically with a greater focus on skills for the workplace. Government funding has been slashed over the past decade, but several administrations have highlighted their desire to boost its standing and the quality of provision.WATCH: UK jobs outlook weakest in Europe as retail and hospitality slumpThe government said measures included:The government’s “lifetime skills guarantee,” funding free A Level-equivalent qualifications for adults without them in sectors including accountancy, health and engineering.A “lifelong loan entitlement,” with greater flexibility for adults to secure loans to train and retrain throughout their lives.A £65m ($88.7m) fund to help business groups work with colleges on “tailored skills plans to meet local training needs,” including establishing new college business centres.Giving employers a key role in designing “almost all technical courses” by 2030, linking provision more to labour market opportunities.A new range of higher technical qualifications from September 2022, to boost “quality and uptake.”A nationwide recruitment campaign for further education staff, and efforts to boost professional development for existing staff.“New powers to intervene” when colleges are failing, as well as “overhauling funding and accountability rules,” with few further details ahead of the full white paper’s publication.Williamson said: “These reforms are at the heart of our plans to build back better, ensuring all technical education and training is based on what employers want and need, whilst providing individuals with the training they need to get a well-paid and secure job, no matter where they live, and in the sectors that are critical to our future economic success.”Story continuesThe jobs situation in Britain right nowThe initiative comes as Britain, as well as a number of countries in the world, are battling the effects of COVID-19 wrecking the jobs market.Latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of unemployed Brits rose again in the three months to October and redundancies hit a record high. […] Redundancies reached an all-time high of 370,000, as employers axed jobs.Employment has fallen at its fastest pace in a decade from close to record highs a year ago. […] But he said firms needed more financial support and guidance to help train staff and the country’s unemployed.READ MORE: What are the EU labour laws Britain may scrap?Peter Cheese, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD), agreed the measures were a “significant step forwards.”He said firms would need help on how to engage with new college business centres, and said some companies invested less in training as they struggled to clearly identify their own skills deficits.
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