National Skills Fund: Level 3 Adult Offer & Bootcamps

Over this Parliament and from 2021-2024, the government is planning on investing £2.5 billion in the National Skills Fund. The National Skills Fund will help adults to train and gain the valuable skills they need to improve their job prospects. The NSF aims to support economic recovery and address future skills needs by boosting the supply of skills and addressing employer skills needs.

The Chancellor announced an initial £375 million for the National Skills Fund at the Spending Review in November 2020. This includes £95 million in funding for a new level 3 adult offer and £43 million to expand skills bootcamps.

Level 3 adult offer

From April 2021, any adult aged 24 and over who wants to achieve their first full level 3 qualification, (equivalent to a technical certificate or diploma, or two A levels) will be able to access almost 400 fully funded courses. This is part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee which was announced by the Prime Minister in September 2020.

Courses will be available in a variety of lengths, to support adults to get the skills they need to boost their careers.

Sector subject areas and courses available

A range of funded courses will deliver a wide range of skills in many jobs and sectors.

Download the complete list of qualifications 

All of the qualifications have been carefully chosen to help adults improve their job prospects, meet the needs of the economy, and cover some critical areas where skills needs exist, namely:

Engineering; building and construction; manufacturing technologies; transportation operations and maintenance; business management; public services; accounting and finance; medicine and dentistry; horticulture and forestry; health and social care; ICT practitioners; ICT for users; mathematics and statistics; science; agriculture; nursing and vocations and subjects allied to medicine; child development and wellbeing; environmental conservation; teaching and lecturing;

warehousing and distribution.

More detailed information on how to access the offer will be available in early 2021. We believe the DfE will run this programme nationally.So what does it mean for providers in the Liverpool City Region?

  • Allocations

We would expect to receive about 4% of total funding or £3m plus, and we understand that that the LCR CA may administer this. We will work with the LCR CA  to establish how it might be developed and managed locally, and to ensure that this funding is accessible to all providers.

  • Awarding organisations, Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority will be able to suggest additions to the list through the qualifications funding approval This can be done on an ongoing basis.

Looking at the list of qualifications, there is a possible risk that this funding may not increase the number of adults starting a Level 3 qualification locally. In fact, this new programme may simply displace Adult Learning Loans, which is a real concern. We will explore this further and work with the LCR CA to ensure that the new programme does not displace and also undermine local provider stability. GMLPF will seek to ensure that this funding sits outside the current AEB procurement model, i.e. funding is not channelled exclusively through the existing grant-funded and procured provider base as that would be too limiting and restrict choice and opportunity.

Skills bootcamps

As part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, the Prime Minister also announced the expansion of the skills bootcamp programme, i.e. running local digital skills bootcamp. Skills bootcamps will complement the level 3 adult offer, providing free, flexible courses of just 12 to 16 weeks. They give the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills, and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

Subject areas

A range of bootcamp models will be established: Digital; Welding; Engineering; Construction

The Liverpool City Region will be a pilot area for the new bootcamps. Again, we are awaiting more information and will liaise with the LCR CA to discuss the local rollout. If anybody is interested in knowing more about the welding, engineering and construction bootcamps, please contact [email protected] to discuss further