This is very good news, and worth putting into context. 1/9
Even before the coronavirus and the economic crisis that has come with it, @resfoundation have shown that more than one-third of adults in the UK were without a Level 3 (including nearly one-in-three 25-28 -year olds). 2/9
To the extent that having mid- and higher-level qualifications can bring quality jobs and higher pay (which they *on average* do), then the above situation of course needs improving. 3/9
Add to that the current crisis, in which we expect a big # of redundancies over the coming year & particularly in sectors like hospitality, which has a large # of workers with lower-level qualifications. Without support mechanisms to keep them in work, retraining will be key. 4/9
And in fact, recent research from @resfoundation shows that education & training can have a significant effect on the odds of a person returning to work...even if our analysis looked at data from a more buoyant labour market.  5/9
However, free study alone will be something of a silver bullet: up until 2013 adults were also able to study for their first level 3 qualification free of charge, and although take up was certainly higher then than now (almost double), there are many barriers to study... 6/9
For instance, maintenance: adults wanting to study on a full-time further education course are unable to take out a maintenance loan like university students, and most UC claimants aren't allowed to receive their claim and study more than 16 hours week. 7/9
Moreover, it's not easy for adult learners to build up individual educational credits into full-level qualifications over time. So allowing them to accumulate credits and/or finance their study on a modular basis (which the below hints at, for HE at least) is welcome news. 8/9
Finally, these announcements shouldn't be a huge surprise - it's just that 'right to retrain' & the National Skills Fund were announced in the 2019 general election, and that feels like a lifetime ago. Although key details remain, we should take the good news when we can. 9/9
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