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Labour to usher in “a golden age” of lifelong learning says Stephen Morgan

Image by the Office of Stephen Morgan

Labour candidate for Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan has said the next Labour Government will deliver a ‘golden age of lifelong learning’ with opportunities for adults to train and retrain throughout their lives.

Labour will transform the Tories’ failed Apprenticeships Levy into a Growth and Skills Levy. Under this reformed levy, businesses will be given greater flexibility to invest in training courses that meet their skills needs, turbocharging investment in skills for the future.

Earlier this year Mr Morgan returned to his former school – Priory School in Southsea – to speak with students and host an industry roundtable on how to support Portsmouth young people prepare for work and life.

Mr Morgan has said Labour’s changes will create stepping stones for people at every stage of their lives and careers, creating opportunities for adults to upskill with short, modular courses in new industries and technologies and for young people to get on through pre-apprenticeships courses.

Labour has said these changes could generate 150,000 traineeships for young people as part of their ‘Youth Guarantee’ if businesses use just 3% of the additional flexibility Labour will deliver. 

The plans offer a stark contrast to 14 years of Tory failure. Since 2017, the number of adults participating in education, training or skills programmes has fallen by more than 350,000. Employers in Britain are now investing half as much as the European average.

The picture is no less bleak when it comes to apprenticeships, where the numbers achieving apprenticeship qualifications across Construction, Engineering, and Health and Care have halved.

The Learning and Work Institute estimating that there would be 7 million additional adult qualifications had participation remained at the same level it was in 2010 when Labour left office, with poor skills provision estimated to cost the economy around £20bn a year.

Commenting, Labour’s candidate for Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan said:

“In a rapidly changing world, it is crucial that businesses are incentivised to provide learning opportunities and people are given the chance to upskill to move into emerging and exciting industries.

“Despite this, under the Tories, we have seen 14 years of failure when it comes to lifelong learning, with 350,000 fewer adults in education, training or skills programmes since 2017.

“That’s why the next Labour Government will deliver lifelong learning opportunities for adults in Portsmouth and across the country to train throughout their lives, helping them meet their skills needs, and helping local businesses grow.”

Bridget Phillipson, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“Businesses are crying out for help to tackle skills shortages, so Labour will give them the flexibility needed to create skills training opportunities and drive economic growth through a Growth and Skills Levy

“Unlike the Tories botched apprenticeships levy which has seen training opportunities plummet, Labour will put businesses in the driving seat of creating the opportunities people need to get on in work.

“The choice on 4th July is between a Conservative Party that has given up on upskilling the nation and Labour that will see in a golden age in lifelong learning so that everyone can get on and fire the growth our economy needs

“It’s time to end the chaos, turn the page, and rebuild Britain with Labour.”