Welcome reform for skills, for flexibility and for jobs

The government has published its much anticipated ‘Skills for Jobs White Paper’ this week. The measures, announced by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, set out a clear strategy and direction for the future of skills and vocational education in England, and place employers at the heart of the system, helping to develop tailored qualifications that will meet local needs and fill skills gaps.

The landmark reforms enshrine the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee (launched September 2020) so that everyone, no matter what their background, or where they live, can gain the skills they need to progress in work at any stage of their lives, and secure jobs with higher wages that support the economy to grow.

Gavin 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, while 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.”

These welcome plans aim to put a stop to the all too common misconception that a degree is the only route to success and a good job, and that further and technical education is the second-class option. With an overhauling of funding over the coming years to match the shift in policy set out in the paper, this more targeted support should rebalance the entire system to make it work for everyone.

Candace Miller, Managing Director, SFJ Awards said:

“As the key sector-specialist Awarding Organisation and End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) for the protective services sector, we very much welcome the publication and mission of this Skills for Jobs White Paper here at SFJ Awards, to increase productivity, support growth and enable progression. 

“The emphasis placed on flexibility, the employer role, and the accessibility of high quality, relevant provision which delivers value for money and the importance of higher level technical skills, are principles that have always underpinned the design and delivery of our vocational qualifications and EPA services. These elements are all crucial to building an agile and adaptable workforce.  

“We therefore very much look forward to continuing to work with partners across the skills ecosystem, and at national, regional and local levels, to support and strengthen the opportunities for lifelong learning and pathways from skills into great jobs.”

You can read the full ‘Skills for Jobs White Paper’ here.

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