Prime minister visits Devon to announce transformation of post-18 education

PUBLISHED: 13:52 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:33 29 September 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with East Devon MP Simon Jupp during a visit to Exeter College. Picture: Simon Jupp

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with East Devon MP Simon Jupp during a visit to Exeter College. Picture: Simon Jupp

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Devon on Tuesday (September 29) to announce plans to ‘transform’ post-18 education in the post-Covid-19 economy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson uses a trowel to build a brick wall during a visit to Exeter College. The visit comes ahead of a speech in which he is expected to announce guaranteed opportunities for life-long learning to help create a jobs recovery after the pandemic. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 29, 2020. Mr Johnson's speech will outline his intention to create conditions for people to upskill at any stage of their life in a bid to help those made redundant to retrain for new positions. The scheme will be available from April in England, and will be paid for through the National Skills Fund. See PA story POLITICS Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Finnbarr Webster/PA WirePrime Minister Boris Johnson uses a trowel to build a brick wall during a visit to Exeter College. The visit comes ahead of a speech in which he is expected to announce guaranteed opportunities for life-long learning to help create a jobs recovery after the pandemic. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 29, 2020. Mr Johnson's speech will outline his intention to create conditions for people to upskill at any stage of their life in a bid to help those made redundant to retrain for new positions. The scheme will be available from April in England, and will be paid for through the National Skills Fund. See PA story POLITICS Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Finnbarr Webster/PA Wire

Boris Johnson visited the Devon and Exeter Construction Training Centre, at Exeter College, to make the announcement which included offering free and fully-funded courses to adults without an A-level or equivalent qualification.

He also announced that the plans, which will come into force from April 2021, will include higher education loans being made more flexible and more investment in college buildings and facilities.

The government’s £8million bootcamp pilot schemes in the West Midlands and Manchester for digital skills will be extended in 2021 to four new locations and will be rolled out in other sectors like construction and engineering.

He was joined during the visit by East Devon MP Simon Jupp.

Mr Jupp said: “It was brilliant to welcome the Prime Minister to Exeter College’s Construction Training Centre in Sowton to talk about his plan for new and skilled jobs.

“It’s time to end the bogus distinction between academic and practical learning and every student we met was enthusiastic about the future. Exeter College is at the forefront of plans to boost our economic recovery by giving people the skills they need for new opportunities ahead.”

During the visit Mr Johnson praised Exeter College and outlined further funding for its facilities:

He said: “The British economy is in the process of huge and rapid change, driven by the internet and the possibilities of remote communication,”

“But as old types of employment fall away, new opportunities are opening up with dizzying speed - vast new sectors in which this country already leads or can lead the world.

“It’s time for change. It’s time for radical change. And let’s begin by admitting part of the problem is that not every FE (further education) college [and] not every training college is as superb as Exeter College. “We need to invest in skills and we need to invest in FE.

“That’s why we’re putting in £1.5 billion into upgrading and improving colleges across the country, fixing the leaky ceilings, bringing forward £200 million this year. The facilities here are awesome, I’ve tried them myself this morning.”


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