Boris Johnson announces ‘radical shakeup’ of adult education as Covid-19 forces career changes

Boris Johnson has promised Britons the right to four years of loans for higher education, declaring that “huge numbers” will need to change their jobs because of Covid-19.

In a speech at a further education college in Exeter, Mr Johnson announced the Government would end the “bogus distinction” between further and higher education in expanding the ability to get student loans.

Minister intend to make higher education loans more flexible, allowing adults and young people to space out their study across their lifetimes, while a new “lifetime skills guarantee” offers a fully-funded college course to people over 18 in England without an A-level or equivalent.

The Government will pay for the policy under an £2.5bn boost to England’s National Skills Fund, which has already been announced and will come into effect next April.

“We’ve got to end the pointless, nonsensical gulf that’s been fixed for generations, more than 100 years, between the so-called academic and so-called practical varieties of education,” Mr Johnson said.

“It’s absurd to talk about skills in this limited way. Now is the time to end this bogus distinction between FE and HE.”

“We’re going to change the funding model so that it’s just as easy to get a student loan to do a year of electrical engineering at an FE college, or do two years of electrical engineering, as it is to get a loan to do a three-year degree in politics, philosophy and economics.”

A full list of available courses will be announced next month, Number 10 confirmed. Mr Johnson said “huge numbers” will need to change their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic. “We cannot, alas, save every job,” he said. “What we can do is give people the skills to find and create new and better jobs. So my message today is that at every stage of your life, this Government will help you get the skills you need.”


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