Ambitious plans to transform the country’s training and skills system will help to tackle Redditch’s skills gap – Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch, has said as she backs the overhaul.

Announced in a speech by Prime Minister Boris Johnson today (September 29th), Adults without an A-Level or equivalent qualification will be offered a free, fully-funded college course – providing them with skills valued by employers, and the opportunity to study at a time and location that suits them.

This offer will be available from April in England and will be paid for through the National Skills Fund. A full list of available courses will be set out shortly.

Higher education loans will also be made more flexible, allowing adults and young people to space out their study across their lifetimes, take more high-quality vocational courses in further education colleges and universities, and to support people to retrain for jobs of the future.

These reforms will be backed by continued investment in college buildings and facilities – including over £1.5 billion in capital funding. Heart of Worcestershire College in Redditch received £1 million from this fund to upgrade facilities.

Apprenticeship opportunities will also be increased, with more funding for SMEs taking on apprentices, and greater flexibility in how their training is structured – especially in sectors such as construction and creative industries where there are more varied employment patterns.

Rachel said:

“The plans announced by the Prime Minister will ensure new opportunities are available for people in Redditch who need to take them up. It will enable us to tackle the skills gap in our town that businesses in Redditch all too often raise with me.

“As someone who worked in business for decades before entering politics, I’ve long championed the cause of retraining and upskilling. I’ve seen first-hand the lifechanging impact it can have on employees and the benefits this brings to businesses.”