Below is the text of the statement made by Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, in the House of Commons on 18 July 2019.
The world of work is transforming. In particular, automation is a key opportunity for the economy, creating new jobs and raising wages, but it could also bring significant changes to the economy. This means it is critical that we develop a national retraining scheme that helps prepare citizens for future changes to the economy, including those brought about by automation, and supports them to retrain into better jobs.
That is why we are developing the national retraining scheme through a unique partnership between the Confederation of British Industry, the Trades Union Congress and Government, which will keep the voices of workers and businesses at the heart of the service.
The scheme will initially focus on employed adults aged 24 and over, without a qualification at degree level and earning below a certain wage threshold that we are testing to focus on those earning low to medium wages. We are investing in this group of people first as they have comparatively less access to existing Government support and are most in need of adapting their skills to take advantage of the opportunities the future changes to the economy will bring.
A key feature of the development of the scheme has been to start small, test, evaluate and scale up. We are putting the needs of individuals and employers at the heart of the development of the scheme, conducting extensive user research to understand what they need from a national retraining scheme. We are also conducting a range of pilots investigating innovative approaches to overcoming barriers to training that adults face.
Today, I am pleased to announce the release of the first part of the national retraining scheme, “Get help to retrain”, to a small number of eligible adults in the Liverpool city region. This digital service will help adults to understand their existing skills, explore alternative roles or occupations and find relevant training to unlock opportunities for a broad range of good jobs that could be within their reach. “Get help to retrain” will be rapidly expanded to more people and more areas throughout the testing phase before being made available to all eligible adults in England in 2020.
This is the first of a series of products that will make up the complete national retraining scheme and marks the first step of an adult’s journey towards gaining the skills needed to secure a better job.