The Workers Union has issued a statement giving a ‘cautious welcome’ to the government’s “Lifetime Skills Guarantee”.
The announcement comes as the prime minister, Boris Johnson, said he was ‘determined to help everyone who has lost their jobs retrain.’
The Lifetime Skills Guarantee will see adults offered a fully-funded course designed to boost their career prospects. Applicants must be without a qualification at A-level (Level 3) or equivalent to be eligible.
Places are available from April next year and the range of courses will undergo a periodic review.
National Skills Fund
The scheme is backed by a £95 million cash boost from the National Skills Fund, an initiative which promises to ‘support the immediate economic recovery and future skills needs by boosting the supply of skills that employers require.’
The Workers Union Says
We’re pleased to see that the government has caught up with our strategy for boosting skills and employability. These courses will provide a welcome tonic for people who have lost jobs during the COVID crisis. Given time, they may also address the historic barriers to development experienced by working people.
But this is not a time for complacency. The Lifetime Skills Guarantee should be part of a wider move towards support packages for specific industries.
For example, we need only look at sectors such as the arts to know that they are populated by people who treat their jobs as a vocation. To ask them to consider retraining for an entirely unrelated career is to stop them from pursuing their passion. Such denial may have negative effects that manifest themselves in the mental health of the nation.
We must also be clear that the timing of this scheme seems reactive rather than proactive. After all, there seems little point in waiting until April to make these courses available. People are losing their jobs, and will continue to lose them as the COVID fallout bites hard. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that there is a real and compelling case for helping people now.
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