Budget 2021: Chancellor to announce £3bn investment in skills and education

23 October 2021, 22:42 | Updated: 23 October 2021, 22:45

The education sector will receive £3 billion.
The education sector will receive £3 billion. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

A £3 billion investment into education will give people "the skills they need to earn more and get on in life", the Chancellor has said.

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The boost to the sector - for both post-16 education and adults later in life - is set to be announced by Rishi Sunak in next week's Budget.

The National Skills Fund will be boosted with a total investment of £550 million to quadruple the number of places on skills boot camps, which are available for adults of any age, covering areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and nuclear.

A further £1.6 billion will provide up to 100,000 T-Levels students aged between 16 and 19 studying with additional classroom hours, along with another 24,000 traineeships being created.

As for apprenticeships, funding will increase by £170 million, reaching £2.7 billion in 2024/25.

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Mr Sunak said: "Our future economic success depends not just on the education we give to our children but the lifelong learning we offer to adults.

"This £3 billion skills revolution builds on our plan for jobs and will spread opportunity across the UK by transforming post-16 education, giving people the skills they need to earn more and get on in life."

Existing colleges in England are set to be allocated £830 million, with extra funding for new equipment and facilities, as part of the "skills revolution".

Mr Sunak will also announce the expansion of free Level 3 courses for adults, which are equivalent to A-levels, in subjects like maths, chemistry and biology.

Read more: Rishi Sunak to outline plans to balance the books in Autumn budget next month

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said the funding would open the door for students hoping to enter high-skilled industries.

"We are supporting people to gain the skills they need to secure great jobs," he said.

"Our skills reforms and this additional investment will support more people to continue to upskill and retrain throughout their lives and open the door to careers in high-skilled industries."

Meanwhile, Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said: "This money is welcome and post-16 training and skills for employment is important.

"But the learning and experiences children and young people have had earlier in their lives, to help them get to that point, is also important.

"We need to see investment from Treasury next week into education the whole way through, right from the vital early years."

It comes after it was announced on Saturday that transport links across England would also get a £7 billion boost in the next Budget review.

The money will be for projects ranging from tram improvements to introducing improvements in infrastructure, fares and services, the Treasury said.