Skip to page content
Projects Map


Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 29 September 2020

Prime Minister announces Lifetime Skills Guarantee to boost post-coronavirus economy

The Prime Minister has announced an overhaul of the adult training and skills system to help boost the post-COVID-19 economy, pledging a Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

Adults without an A-Level or equivalent qualification will be offered a free, fully-funded college course – providing them with skills valued by employers, and the opportunity to study at a time and location that suits them. This offer will be available from April, and will be paid for through the National Skills Fund.

Higher education loans will also be made more flexible, allowing adults and young people to space out their study across their lifetimes, take more high-quality vocational courses in further education colleges and universities, and to support people to retrain for jobs of the future.

These reforms will be backed by continued investment in college buildings and facilities – including over £1.5 billion in capital funding. More details will be set out in a further education white paper later this year.

In a speech at Exeter College, the prime minister said the pandemic had “massively accelerated” changes to the world of work, and made training gaps “painfully apparent”.

“As the Chancellor has said, we cannot, alas, save every job. 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. We’re transforming the foundations of the skills system so that everyone has the chance to train and retrain.”

Apprenticeship opportunities will also be increased, with more funding for SMEs taking on apprentices, and greater flexibility in how their training is structured – especially in sectors such as construction and creative industries where there are more varied employment patterns.Read the Prime Minister’s speech in full here.

Additional updates and guidance

Updated guidance 

The following areas of government guidance have been updated:

Government launches £2 million transport location data competition
The Geospatial Commission has partnered with Innovate UK to create a £2 million transport location data competition which will look at how location data can spark innovation and support the future of mobility for the United Kingdom.

New strategy to secure the UK’s future position as a global leader in genomics
The new National Genomic Healthcare Strategy – Genome UK: the future of healthcare – aims to ensure the UK can offer patients the best possible predictive, preventative and personalised care by harnessing the potential of advanced genome sequencing.