Science Industry Partnership

16 Nov 2021

Skills and Post-16 Education Bill: Second Reading Opening Speech

As the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill received its second reading in the Commons (15 Nov), we’ve broken down the key highlights from Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi’s speech and welcome the news about the 1-year extension to the reform timetable, enabling more time on the impact of removing funding for BTECs to be explored before any changes are made which could negatively impact our industries.


• £3.8 billion more in further education and skills over the Parliament by 2024-25
• Extra £1.6 billion boost for 16–19-year olds’ education and delivering more hours of teaching for T Levels.
• Apprenticeships funding will increase to £2.7 billion to support businesses of all sizes to build the skilled workforce they need.

Local Skill Improvement Plan

• Established 8 trailblazers areas across the country, which are currently engaging employers, education providers and key local stakeholders to begin the development of local skills improvement plans.
• Local Skills Improvement Plans will help ensure the skills system is responsive to labour market skills needs and supports local innovation and growth, with every part of the country able to succeed in its own unique way.
• Only through understanding what is needed in a local area and working in a holistic way with employers, education providers, and key local stakeholders, can we develop credible local plans to ensure that skills provision meets local needs.

Lifelong Loan Entitlement

• A loan entitlement, to the equivalent of four years of post-18 education at levels 4 to 6, for use on modules or full courses, in colleges or universities, over their lifetime.
• The LLE will give people the option to build up their qualifications over time, within both further education and higher education providers - helping to create that parity of esteem between further and higher education.
Approval and regulation of technical Qualifications
• Allowance of an extra year before the reform timetable for T Levels and A levels is fully implemented. This extra year will allow more work to support the growth of T Levels and gives more notice to providers, awarding organisations, employers, students and parents so that they can prepare for the changes, especially to BTEC qualifications.
• Temporary flexibilities to how Industry placements can be delivered, including some virtual working, so that students from the first two cohorts are not unfairly disadvantaged by the ongoing challenges presented by Covid-19 on T Level delivery
• Working to improve technical education at all levels, including level 2. Consultation on proposals for reform expected later this year.

You can read a full copy of the statement to parliament here

Rachel Roby is Strategic Apprenticeship Lead for Cogent Skills and on hand with practical support for employers around their own Apprenticeship Programmes. If you are a member of the Science Industry Partnership, this support is included within your membership. Please contact

For more information on becoming a member please contact