Skidmore’s new independent commission calls for national careers service

The Lifelong Education Commission seeks to transform the UK’s post-18 education system and in-work skills provision – and launches its first report on Monday

Former universities minister Chris Skidmore MP will launch his new education commission’s first report at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Monday 4 October.

The Lifelong Education Commission is an independent commission chaired by Skidmore and comprising 12 key figures from the further and higher education sectors. It aims to “set out a clear pathway as to how post-18 education and in-work skills provision need to be reformed”.

The commission’s first report, in collaboration with think tank Respublica is called ‘Reforming the UK’s Skills System’ and will be the first of a provisional eight reports published over a two year period.

It will explain how important reskilling and upskilling are to the UK’s economic prospects and the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda and look at how barriers to adult learning can be removed; future investment needs; and how to ensure the requisite flexibility and ‘modularity’ to fit both the current and future labour market.

The report will include recommendations on:

  • The lifetime loan entitlement and means-tested maintenance grants to encourage uptake from hard-to-reach groups
  • Reform of the regulatory framework to simplify the jurisdiction between multiple qualifications bodies
  • A single, national careers service to improve the visibility and quality of careers information, advice and guidance for learners of all ages
  • Re-incentivising part-time learning to support the government’s goal of re-skilling and up-skilling the workforce
  • Increased flexibility and ‘modularity’ and the need to abolish the equivalent or lower qualification (ELQ) rules
  • Incentivising employer investment and creating a ‘flexible skills levy’ in place of the apprenticeship levy
  • The role of devolved governments and mayoral combined authorities in developing localised skills plans critical to levelling up

“More than any other policy intervention, up-skilling and re-skilling the adult working population holds the key to levelling up,”  said Chris Skidmore.

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