Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce close to £3 billion in skills funding in the budget on Wednesday (27 October), it has been revealed.
The “skills revolution” spending package will include £1.6bn to support the roll-out of T Levels, £550 million for adult skills and £830 million to revamp and modernise colleges.
The T Level investment will come over three years to 2024-25, and will mainly be directed at funding additional classroom hours.
Developed in collaboration with employers, T Levels were launched in September 2020 with three initial subjects. A further seven subjects were due to begin in September 2021 and there will be 24 subjects by full roll-out in 2023.
Earlier this month, more than 100 MPs and peers wrote to the Department for Education amid concerns that the roll out of T Levels could mean the removal of funding of BTecs, a long-standing vocational qualification for 16 to 19-year-olds.
The £550 for adult learning will be channelled through the National Skills Fund that was announced last September. This will include “skills boot camps” for adults who have no qualifications beyond GCSE level.
There will also be targeted investment into STEM subjects such as maths, chemistry and biology with a view to boosting skills in this sector.
A further £170 million will be provided for apprenticeships and training, according to Sunak, who said the cash injection would “spread opportunity across the UK by transforming post-16 education – giving people the skills they need to earn more and get on in life”.
Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi 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.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of teaching union the Association of School and College Leaders, told BBC Breakfast that the concentration of investment in T Levels could prove to be a “gamble” while it was still unclear how many teenagers would want to take the new qualification.