I can’t remember an autumn statement and comprehensive spending review that has been so nervously anticipated. Everyone involved in skills – from employers to the FE sector – have braced themselves in the knowledge that significant changes are just around the corner.
Within George Osborne’s speech, there appear to be some cautious positives for the skills agenda: 16-19 fully funded skills provision is protected and FE budgets for adult skills remain unchanged in cash terms. The government holds fast to its target for 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. Support for individuals to pursue skills development has also been increased with the extension of tuition fee loans and maintenance loans being opened up to support part time students.