In response to the Prime Minister's speech later today, training providers say now is the time for the government to get radical on its approach to adults retraining and gaining new skills.

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers, which represents training providers who train 7 out of 10 apprentices in England, has welcomed the PM's pledge to expand apprenticeships and to invest more in adult retraining, but argues that the impact of the pandemic means that the entire system of government funded adult education should be overhauled and simplified.

Association of Employment and Learning Providers managing director Jane Hickie said

"It's good to see National Skills Fund being invested in extra and much needed funding for adult education alongside the adult education budget and we have recommended that the comprehensive spending review should integrate these two budgets and the National Retraining Scheme into a single pot which providers of all types can access. The next step after that is that adult learners should access the pot instead via properly regulated individual skills accounts, so we end up with a fully demand-led system like we now have for employers with apprenticeships."

Senior government officials have made it clear that the new adult learning entitlement in today's announcements can be delivered by providers of all types, e.g. adult community learning institutions and independent training providers, as well as colleges.

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